While most of my blog posts till now have focused on writing fiction, my work days are filled with technical and business writing. I’d like to start sharing some of the resources I use when writing professionally. When we write, we weigh our word and structure choices to determine how they will most accurately communicate our meaning to the reader. This is the same regardless of field or genre. How do we get the reader to understand what we’re trying to say while staying succinct and interesting? And how do we accomplish that in three words or less in our business signature?
I’ve written a lot of messages on LinkedIn over the past year, and the section I’ve spent the most time on is my signature. No kidding. You’d think it would be as easy as my greeting, but there are less choices for a professional greeting (without sounding cheesy) than there are for a professional signature. Less choices means less time spent choosing. Comparatively, the signature on an email or IM is fairly open to your imagination.
A word-obsessive person (yes, I include myself) can become indecisive when considering the formality, originality, potential for misunderstanding, etc. behind each possibility. And it’s not just on the original email. Several times I’ve received an email signed with “All the best,” and had to consider my signature so I don’t repeat “best” and give the impression of being a person who mimics information presented to me. You may think I’m overthinking the situation, but I consider overthinking word choices to be a desirable quality in a technical writer. Or really any writer. I know the people who agree with me are out there. /highfive
For those who have been in a similar situation, I present the article Best Regards vs. Kind Regards: How to Use Them Each in an Email from HubSpot. While it’s targeted at those in sales, it’s the most useful article I’ve read on the topic for any business writing. (And I’ve read a fair number over the last year.) It presents two main cases based on formality and provides a long list of alternatives for each case. I hope using it improves your confidence in your writing while decreasing the effort you spend on this small decision that can eat a disproportionate amount of time!