A common mistake made when writing in the workplace is writing for yourself when you should be writing for your audience. Do you include things that you think are interesting, but your audience doesn’t need to know? How about details or history that your audience could care less about?

If you want your written communication to do what you need and want it to do, you need to make the right choices for your audience.

So, does your email really need a greeting?

Well, it depends.

Best practice is to humanize your email with a greeting. The right greeting can make your email less impersonal and transactional; however, there are situations when a greeting is extraneous. In other words, there is a case to be made for both omitting greetings and including greetings.

Reasons to omit email greetings

  1. Your audience doesn’t want it or doesn’t care.
  2. You have been asked for only a simple response (e.g., yes/no).
  3. Communication is very informal (think of the days we used to invite coworkers to lunch).
  4. It’s an ongoing conversation; in this case, consider picking up the phone after a few emails.

Reasons to use include greetings

  1. Create a warm, friendly tone (e.g., Hello, Happy Monday).
  2. Establish rapport with someone you don’t know well.
  3. Formalize the communication (e.g., Good morning, Greetings).
  4. It’s polite – you wouldn’t barge into a room and start talking without saying hello, would you?

You choose. Know you audience and make the right choice for them.