“Dear Sirs”? In 2021? Nope. Here are the alternatives.

Image source: iStock

A client of mine got very cross today. Not with me, thank goodness… But because her firm traditionally addresses its own clients as “Dear Sirs”.

Even when they are female or when they have not specified a preferred gender.

In 2021, this won’t do.

My client said, and she’s right: “People work with people, not with systems.”

So here are the best practices you need to know, to avoid this problem in your organisation.

When it comes to the SALUTATION part…

Best practice, globally, is:

Dear Mr Smith
formal

Dear Ms Smith
formal

Dear Mel (first name only, if no gender is specified or less formality is appropriate, as it usually is in South Africa)
less formal

Good day (works well generically for those we might previously have addressed as “Dear Sirs” / “Dear Sir or Madam” / “To whom it may concern” in the old days)
mid-weight formality

Dear colleagues or Dear Colleagues
mid-weight formality; internal use

Dear team or Dear Team
mid-weight formality; internal use

Hi there
informal

Hi everyone
informal; internal use

When it comes to the SIGN-OFF part…

The most formal options currently available are:

Yours sincerely

or

Sincerely

Please, please, please don’t use “Yours faithfully”. It died out with dial-up internet.

For mid-weight formality when it comes to sign-offs, use:

Regards

Kind regards

Warm regards

Many thanks

And if your organisation is suited to informal sign-offs, you can do whatever you like — as long as it isn’t cheesy. By cheesy I mean, “Yours in sales”, “Enthusiastically yours”, “Warm island wishes”, and similar hideosities.

On that note, Markman out. This isn’t an email so I can sign off however I want to.

--

--

--

Copywriter. Teacher. Is all about profitable freelancing. Join her community: https://tiffanymarkman.activehosted.com/f/15

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

How to Get Connected When Your Job is Virtual

Vlog 5 — Final Reflections

Humility and authenticity in relation to leadership & role models/mentors.

Running A Professional Business From Home — 5 Essential Services That Will Project A Professional…

My Career Began When I Was Overlooked for Promotion. Twice.

Coinbase Voices: Why I decided on a career in crypto

How long will it take?

How to Message a Potential Mentor

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Tiffany Markman

Tiffany Markman

Copywriter. Teacher. Is all about profitable freelancing. Join her community: https://tiffanymarkman.activehosted.com/f/15

More from Medium

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pineapple Tarts — Beautiful Voyager Kitchen

Cage Theory — What is it?

Great Aerobic Exercises Tips And Tricks For You To Run With

Great Aerobic Exercises Tips And Tricks For You To Run With

Today is the birthday of Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s great scientists, because of this he…

Today is the birthday of Stephen Hawking, one of the world's great scientists, because of this he was called an atheist.