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General Business 360 Communication Guide

Salutations & Complimentary Closes


Take the time to address readers with respect as human beings and be sensitive about appropriate honorifics. Always address women you don't know as "Ms." unless Dr., Professor, or another honorific is appropriate. Never use "Mrs." or "Miss" because these honorifics indicate a woman's marital status.  Assumptions about whether someone is single or not is best avoided at work until you have developed a closer professional relationship.

Note that some professionals may use newer gender-neutral honorifics, such as Mx. Conventions around gender-neutral honorifics are changing rapidly; be respectful of individual identities while being sensitive to your workplace's accepted practices.

Formal Relationship with Someone you have Never Met or

With Whom you are not on a First Name Basis

Formal or Serious Situation but First Name Basis

Informal but Professional

Dear Ms. Smith:

Dear Joan:

Hello Joan,

Dear Dr. Rodriguez:

Dear Ethan,

Hi Joan,

Dear Professor Wong:

Dear Sarah and Juan,

Good morning* Joan,

Dear Hiring Committee:

Hello team,

Hi all,

Dear Customer Service Representative:

Hello to all,

Hello marketing team!

Dear colleagues:


Greetings, everybody!

Dear first name last name: (use this only when you are uncertain

about gender/pronouns as it can appear too much like junk mail)


Hi everyone!

* Email is asynchronous.  Only use a time-specific salutation if you are sure that your reader will read your message at the time you've indicated.


Complimentary Closes

Follow conventions. This is not the place for creativity.


Professional but Friendly



Best wishes,


Best regards,

All the best,



Warm regards,

Thanks, (reserve for contexts where gratitude makes sense and avoid using this close in

place of a dedicated message of appreciation)



Cheers, (be aware that this can

read as a pretentious attempt to sound British)


With appreciation,


Yours respectfully,



Note:  You may drop salutations and complimentary closes once an email conversation turns into a back and forth exchange:

Subject: Request for Information on Successful Tech Conferences

Dear Joan,

Could you please send me the article you mentioned that analyzed successful tech conferences from around the world? It sounded like it would be helpful for planning our upcoming convention!




Subject: Re: Request for Information on Successful Tech Conferences

Hi Sarita, yes, of course, I’ve attached it.



Subject: Re: re: Request for Information on Successful Tech Conferences

You are the best!

Content Credit

Content on this page was created by the Business Communication team at the Wisconsin School of Business.