How do you start a professional email greeting?

21 Sep 2023

When it comes to professional email communication, one of the most frequently asked questions is, ‘How do you start a professional email greeting?’. While many resources dive deep into the nuances of ‘Hey’ versus ‘Hello’ or debate the formality of ‘Dear so-and-so’, I’d like to offer a different perspective.

Email Greetings Aren’t as Important as You Think

Contrary to popular belief, the specific greeting you choose might not be as crucial as you think. Sure, there are countless articles and discussions about which greeting is best, but the truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

The appropriateness of an email greeting can vary based on several factors:

  • Cultural norms
  • Company culture
  • Your relationship with the recipient
  • The formality required for the message
  • Prevailing trends and what’s currently in vogue

Moreover, greetings evolve. What’s trendy and acceptable today might be considered outdated or inappropriate in a few years.

Finding the Right Greeting for You

If you’re scratching your head wondering, “How do you start a professional email greeting?”, here’s a practical tip:

Observe and adapt.

Look at the greetings in the emails you receive, especially from colleagues or superiors.

  • Is there a pattern?
  • Do they lean towards formality or casualness?
  • Do they treat customer emails differently from internal communications?

By paying attention to these details, you’ll get a clearer sense of what’s acceptable and expected in your specific environment. And if you’re still in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask a trusted colleague or manager for their opinion.

The Bigger Picture

While greetings play a role in setting the tone, remember that the content of your email is king. The clarity, relevance, and precision of your message matter far more than whether you opted for a “Hi” or a “Hello.”

So, while it’s good to be mindful of your greeting, focus more on delivering clear and concise messages. That’s what will truly make an impact.


In conclusion, while the question of “How do you start a professional email greeting?” is valid, it’s essential to understand that the greeting is just the beginning. The real value lies in the content that follows.


Find out more about writing great emails in my award-winning book. Or take a look at this article explaining the most important part of a work email – the subject line.



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