Time To Kiss “Dear John” Goodbye In Business Emails?

In my work life, I frequently send emails to people I don’t know, quite often to people in other countries. The standard opening in our company is supposed to be:

“Dear Business Traveler,”

… which I use most often when forwarding confirmation emails that come to our generic inbox. I use a rather anonymous tone and the generic signature block, because the emails are automatically generated to frequent travelers whose member accounts have become associated with our office.

But when emailing someone I’ve spoken to, or to someone in Britain I “know,” I open with:

“Hello (Firstname),” or even “Hallo, (Firstname)” for a British contact.

I reserve “Hello, Mr/Ms (Lastname)” for customer service situations, where a more formal term is more appropriate.

I rarely use “Dear…” as a salutation unless I’m making some kind of request from a vendor or a sales rep whose name I know.

I wouldn’t equate “Dear…” with sealing wax just yet but its usefulness is limited.

In closing (heh) I usually end with some kind of thanks, or “warmest regards.”

“Very sincerely yours,” is what you’ll get if I’m NOT able to get a nonrefundable charge waived, or otherwise have bad news on a request.

Its time we ditched “Dear…” from work e-mails, according to a US political figure, who says its too intimate. So what is the most appropriate way to greet someone in an e-mail – hi, hey or just get straight to the point?

Two words. Thats all Giselle Barry needed to leave a lasting impression. The spokeswoman for US congressman Ed Markey was e-mailing a group of reporters, to alert them to an important announcement.

“Hey, folks,” she began.

Such a casual salute raised eyebrows at the Wall Street Journal, which interpreted the beginning of her e-mail as the end of a centuries-old written tradition.”

Across the internet the use of dear is going the way of sealing wax,” noted the newspaper.

via BBC News – Should e-mails open with Dear, Hi, or Hey?.

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