Dear / Hi / Hello

Despite the sunny weather, it will soon be time to send Season’s Greetings (not Christmas greetings out of respect for those who do not celebrate Christmas) to your friends, colleagues and business partners so I thought my next three newsletters would deal with the topics of how to start, write and finish this all-important annual email 😊.

So let’s start …

Your email greeting is important as it can help set the tone of your entire email. A strong greeting will introduce your message and motivate your reader to review your entire email. An appropriate greeting can also help your reader form a positive impression of you. Many moons ago, when I studied to become a secretary, we were taught to use Dear Sir(s) or dear Mr/Mrs xxx at the beginning of a letter, depending on whether we knew the recipient or not. Of course, these are an absolute no-go now so let’s look at what is the correct way to start these two types of emails.

Recipient unknown

Dear Sir or Madam is the most formal greeting but used less and less now as it often indicates you were too lazy to find out someone’s name 😊. It is also not gender inclusive. It is becoming more common to write Dear Marketing Manager, Customer Service, Accounts Department etc. You can also just write Good morning/afternoon/evening or Greetings for less formality.

Recipient known

For formal emails, I used to recommend Dear Mr or Ms xxx which is in line with equality and denotes the recipient is male or female without knowing their marital status. However, we now know that these forms of address aren’t fully inclusive because they don’t include recipients outside the binary categories of man or woman. You can use Mx, but as not everyone is comfortable with that, it is often best to write their full name, if at all possible. As first names are becoming more and more common as forms of address (thank goodness), you can quickly start using them and all problems are solved! My friendliest greeting is Hi Liz followed by Hello Liz.

If you are writing to multiple known people, just use Dear once as in Dear Tom, Dick and Harry or Hi Team, All, Everyone …

Unless you’re in an email conversation, please don’t forget the greeting – it shows respect that you are making the effort to actually write one! But you can forget the comma after it as the main body of the email ALWAYS starts with a capital letter.

Next time we’ll be looking at different Season’s Greetings so if you have got any unusual ones, please send them to me!

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