When Is An Email Greeting Or Salutation Really Necessary?

We're moving into an era of quick and efficient communication, often leaving behind simple things like greetings and signatures behind. Is this because they're unnecessary, or have we actually left something behind that's useful?

Let us know when and why you think greetings and signatures are useful or necessary — or not — in the comments.

Are greetings and salutations redundant in an e-mail? [Stack Exchange]


Comments

    Greetings are useful and necessary once a day IMO. First email of any day to a work colleague has a greeting, from then on it's just a flowing conversation (if there are repeat emails at all).

    I hate getting a fourth or fifth email from somebody and they are still saying "Hi/Dear/Hello George...". We've done that already, let's get to business.

    Signatures are crucial. 1) they tell you the persons "rank" and position. 2) they give important contact details. Nothing more annoying than having to look up someone's phone number in my contacts, when it could be sitting right at the bottom of the email they sent me 2 minutes ago!

      I agree, there aren't many things more tedious than over the top email etiquette. No spoken conversation starts with a greeting every time the speaker shifts, why should an email conversation?

    I usually write salutations on either end of my email (the signature is automatted). The only instance in which I leave out a greeting is in a quick exchange of emails, which is more like a conversation than a letter.

    Personally, I favour a more creative use of the salutations.
    For example one could open with something like;
    Dear John "Spawn of the Devil" Smith,
    blah blah blah...
    And to finish;
    Up yours,
    GD.

    Or alternatively...
    My Dearest Old Pal John,
    and to finish
    Grovelingly Yours,
    GD

    One can convey many emotions and nuances of meaning through creative salutations...

    I think that when email first came about, it was seen really as a replacement for the letter or memo. These days it has obviously progressed much further than that and is now a means to have a quick and direct conversation.

    I'm with George in that the first exchange for the day should have a Hi John but after that, you can drop it.

    Also with George on the signature bit. It's useful. There's no need though to have the whole disclaimer on every email that you send through.

      Many of those great slabs of legal disclaimer text are automatically added by the email server just before sending, not by the person composing the email. It's a company policy thing.

      And colleagues are one thing - clients/customers are something else. Every email to someone in an important position starts with a greeting, even if nothing more than their name as a direct address. People of equal standing or with whom you are genuinely good friends with can go straight to the text.

    I'm never quite sure how to greet a company (as a customer) when I don't know any individual names. Do I...?

    Dear [Company Name],

    Hi,

    To whom it may concern,

    ...None of these quite sit right.

    Simon.

      I tell myself the message will be read by a human, and generally go with "Hi," for an upbeat and chatty approach.

      If I am complaining I go with Dear Sir/Madam, falling back on tradition.

      ...Geoff

    I always use a greeting and a signature (yes, even on replies and forwards). Why? It's polite, and it makes it easy for someone to find my details.

    I also always use our email signature - and you should - for branding purposes.

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