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'Dear Voice-Over Client Prospect,
How Do I Close My Message To You?'
November 29, 2018

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor & Coach

Here's an exercise in the art of letter closing.

So I was on Facebook (as I am too often) and an interesting conversation popped up on the VO of NYC Facebook Group. Founder Carin Gilfry asked if you find it weird when people sign their emails, "Respectfully, Jane Doe." 

She said it's "because it reminds me of the phrase 'With all due respect…' which is typically followed by an insult."

An interesting discussion ensued where people expressed which letter closing they like or don't like. What was even more interesting was that there was no consensus. For example,
  • Some like "Best" and some hate it.
  • One has an issue with "Thanks" but another is a big fan of it.

Another person believed that the more formal the letter closing, the ruder it is.

That's interesting, too, because it's a very American perspective. By that, I mean there is a correlation between formality and friendliness across international lines.

I discovered this a few years ago when doing email-etiquette-by-country research, which was later reinforced when I narrated the audiobook Culture Crossing by Michael Landers.

Through my research, the Culture Crossing narration, and personal experience, I've learned that formality and politeness don't always go hand-in-hand. For instance,
  • Often in France and Japan, the more formal you are, the more respectful you are.
  • In America and Italy, the less formal you are, the more respectful you are.
Clearly, this varies from person to person and whether it's a professional or personal relationship.

And there are also contradictions. In America, if you call a stranger "buddy" or "pal" it's often meant to show disrespect.
"Watch where you're goin', pal!"  

For writing a letter closing with a potential or existing client, here are some guidelines from the website, The Balance Careers.
Sincerely, Regards, Yours truly, Yours sincerely
These are the simplest and most useful letter closings in a formal business setting. They are appropriate in almost all instances and are excellent ways to close a cover letter or an inquiry.

Best regards, Cordially, Yours respectfully
These letter closings fill the need for something slightly more personal. They are appropriate once you have some knowledge of the person to whom you are writing. You may have corresponded via email a few times, had a face-to-face or phone interview, or met at a networking event.

Warm regards, Best wishes, With appreciation
These letter closings are also appropriate once you have some knowledge or connection to the person to whom you are writing. Because they can relate back to the content of the letter, they can give closure to the point of the letter. But only use these if they make sense with the content of your letter.  

Capitalize the first word of your closing. If your closing is more than one word, capitalize the first word and use lowercase for the other words.

Letter Closings to Avoid
There are certain closings that you want to avoid in any business letter. Most of these are simply too informal. Some examples of closings to avoid are: Always, Cheers, Love, Take care, XOXO. Some closings (such as "Love" and "XOXO") imply a level of closeness that is not appropriate for a business letter.

Rule of thumb: if you would use the closing in a note to a close friend, it's probably not suitable for business correspondence.

Here's my tip. When writing to a potential client, your letter closing should reflect your branding, but err on the side of being formal.

When writing to an existing client, you can (and should, in my opinion) be less formal but still polite since you're striving to develop a more comfortable relationship based on strong communication and trust.

If a potential or existing client writes to you, just write back using the same letter closing they use. That way there is a minimal chance of being too formal or informal because you're using what they are comfortable using.
Over two decades, Tom Dheere has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries and voiced more than 40 audiobooks. He is also a voice over business consultant, coach at Edge Studio, was the marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is also writer/producer of the sci-fi action comic book Agent 1.22.

Agent 1.22

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Comments (2)
Rowell Gormon
11/29/2018 at 4:34 PM
It may be over simplistic, but I almost always end an email with the words "Thank you". For some reason, I've never understood "Yours, Truly" (except for Johnny Dollar), or "Sincerely Yours", especially when writing someone you don't really know. But what do I know. Could be the current trendy closer would be the latest version of "Smell ya later!"
Dan Hurst
11/29/2018 at 1:57 PM
Great and insightful article. Thanks Tom!

I like to use Warm Regards normally.
And I usually use “Best Wishes” when I let a client know that there is no way I can work for that rate! :)

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