Email 101: Greetings

Hey!

How you feel about that greeting probably depends on your age – and who’s writing to you.

If you’re over 35, you probably think it’s too casual for a business email.

If you’re under 35, you might wonder why anyone would worry about an insignificant word like “hey.”

It can be tricky to find a middle ground in email that works for every generation. There are all kinds of ways to start and finish a business email – and they’re still changing because using email in the business context is only about 20 years old.

So how do we navigate the choppy waters of business emails right now – and please every generation in the workplace?

First, I should emphasize how important it is to write a greeting when you’re sending a business email. If you don’t greet the person by name, your email seems cold – like you don’t care enough about the business relationship to take the time to address them by name.

Choose a greeting and use it consistently. If you’re not sure, chose the more formal greeting. After all, you don’t want a potential business contact to dismiss your email just because you chose the wrong greeting.

Here are good ways to start emails:

Dear
Hello
Good Morning
Good Afternoon

This is controversial, but I also think it’s fine to begin with the word “Hi” once you’ve established a business relationship with the reader.

Some people like to start with just the person’s first name, such as “Rob.” I think that also works, although it’s a bit blunt. Whatever you decide, make sure you have a comma after the person’s name, like this:

Hello Rob,

Here are more casual ways to start emails – that I definitely wouldn’t recommend for business:

Hey
Yo
So
What’s up

Do you have other suggestions for good ways to start an email? Or greetings we should definitely avoid? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at stephanie@telegramwriting.com.