Email Etiquette: Best Regards and Alternative Salutations

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Closing your business letter or email using the common salutation 'best regards' ensures you end on a positive note. It shows respect for your recipient while still sounding approachable. The simple salutation has many variations that you can apply in a way that suits your message best. Learning how to harness these communication tools to improve the tone of your message is an effective way to build strong professional relationships.

In this article, we discuss what 'best regards' means, when to use it, whether it's a good closing, how to use 'best regards' and other alternatives you can use.

What does 'best regards' mean?

'Best regards' is a friendly yet respectful salutation to use when closing a message, such as a letter or an email. It's common in business writing as it's a key device to welcome future correspondence. If you were to classify the phrase compared to other salutations, such as 'yours sincerely', you could consider 'best regards' as a more semiformal variant. Its literal meaning is to wish your message's recipient well, while it figuratively tries to convey professionalism. This way, you not only invite the recipient to reply to you, but it also puts your working relationship with them in context.

When to use 'best regards'

You can use 'best regards' in most messages because it's respectful enough to address a customer while remaining cordial enough to address a co-worker. Even though 'best regards' is a very versatile choice, you can use it with purpose and intention. The phrase's approachable tone makes it a good option to strengthen your professional ties. Here are a few situations to exemplify when to use the common salutation:

  • When sharing an update on a project with your supervisor

  • When collaborating with a client that you have an existing working relationship with

  • When communicating with a familiar vendor or service provider

  • When collaborating with your co-workers on daily tasks

  • When following up with a recruiter after an interview

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter

Can you say 'best regards' in an email?

Although people have traditionally used the term 'best regards' in physical letters, its approachable tone has made it an even more reliable method to close an email too. Since technology has taken over the workplace, emails have also become the primary channel of communication. That's why, 'best regards' has evolved to suit many situations. Its professional tone makes it a suitable choice to introduce yourself to recruiters, clients and customers through email.

Is 'best regards' a good closing?

'Best regards' is a good business letter and email closing because it helps convey your intention while appearing respectful. The following outlines some benefits of using 'best regards':

Simplicity

Unlike other salutations, such as 'yours sincerely', the common closing, 'best regards', sounds more personal; and therefore, more genuine. This is because of its simplicity. When corresponding with people in different cultures, 'best regards' translates easily in different contexts, making it easier to communicate your good intentions.

Versatility

You can use 'best regards' for both personal and professional correspondence. In personal messages, it communicates your care for the recipient. While in professional emails, it shows your good nature and kindness. Whenever you are unsure about which salutation to close your message with, 'best regards' is always a reliable option.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

How to use 'best regards'

Although you can use 'best regards' in several situations, it's best to consider a few guidelines when selecting this salutation. The following are a few steps on how to use 'best regards':

1. Examine the content of your message

When deciding on whether to use 'best regards' in the closing of your email, understand what you would like to achieve with your message. Since a closing salutation is the last piece of content a recipient reads, it can be a powerful tool that determines their impression of your business letter or email. This can then impact the response you get or the action they take.

For example, if you want to create a sense of urgency, you might use 'regards', the salutation in its simplest form. However, if you want to establish a connection with a recruiter through a cover letter, 'best regards' adds a certain degree of kindness.

2. Consider the recipient

As a general rule in corporate communications, it's important to use a more formal salutation for leaders in the workplace or individuals that have a more senior position than you. Even if you are on friendly terms with the recipient, opting for a more professional closing, such as 'best regards', can help you maintain a level of esteem in your relationship. Although it may not immediately impact their feelings towards you, an accumulation of small habits of respect will ensure people take notice of your integrity.

3. Evaluate other alternatives

If you are unsure how to close your business email or letter, try typing out alternative salutations to determine which best suits your message. This trial-and-error technique will help you determine which closing phrase not only sounds most natural but also appears most effective in the context of your correspondence. If you decide that an alternative to 'best regards' works best, feel free to make this change. Always opt for a salutation that increases the integrity and readability of your message.

4. Use the correct format

Following the correct format in the closing of your message is important, as it keeps your recipient focused on what is being said, rather than how it's being said. In other words, it doesn't distract from the key purpose of your correspondence. The following are some formatting tips to consider when closing your letter or email with 'best regards':

  • Leave a single line space between your last paragraph and the closing salutation

  • Capitalise the first letter in the phrase, like this, 'Best regards'

  • Format the closing phrase with the same style and size as your main body text

  • Place a comma after 'best regards'

  • Insert your name in the line after you write 'best regards'

Alternatives to 'best regards'

The setting of your message will determine the closing salutation you use in your letter or email. The following are some alternatives to 'best regards' for different situations:

Formal setting

Here are some closing phrases for formal business letters and emails, such as cover letters and customer inquiries:

Yours sincerely

'Yours sincerely' is the most common formal closing salutation. It communicates the highest degree of respect, making it a suitable choice for most business documents, such as cover letters and client proposals. Whenever you are unsure about how to address your recipient formally, 'yours sincerely' is your safest option.

Yours faithfully

Similar to 'yours sincerely', 'yours faithfully' also serves to hold your recipient in the highest esteem. It has a gentler tone that comes across as genuine and inviting. You can use this closing salutation for job-seeking and customer management purposes.

Warm regards

'Warm regards' is another version of 'best regards'. By using the word 'warm', the closing salutation communicates your good intention to the recipient.

Thank you for your consideration

Usually, you will use 'thank you for your consideration' in a message that contains a formal proposal, such as a cover letter. The closing salutation shows regard for the recipient's time and effort, especially after reading a lengthy message.

Informal setting

Here are some closing phrases for informal messages, such as correspondence with close co-workers:

Best wishes

'Best wishes' has an approachable tone that shows your care and consideration for your message's recipient. It's a good closing phrase to foster a harmonious working relationship with your co-workers.

Yours truly

'Your truly' has a more personal tone. It's a suitable closing in an informal message to a close advisor or trusted friend. The phrase emphasises your dedication to your work and commitment to your relationship with them.

Thank you

Whenever you feel confused about which closing salutation to select, it's always good to appear gracious. A simple 'thank you' at the end of your letter or email shows your appreciation. It can also give your recipient a boost of motivation.

All the best

'All the best' is an amicable way to end a business letter or email. Professionals often use this closing salutation with clients and customers that they already have a close working relationship with.

Personal setting

The following are some closing phrases for personal messages, such as letters to close friends and family:

Cheers

'Cheers' is a friendly and enthusiastic way to end an email, but it's not as versatile as 'best regards'. Typically, you should only use 'cheers' as a closing salutation to a friend or relative. Consider your company culture before using it in your workplace.

Take care

Usually, people use 'take care' when writing to check on the health and wellbeing of a close friend or family member. It shows concern for the individual and seeks to maintain a nurturing relationship with them.

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