That’s such a common verbal greeting that it’s become an extension of “Hello”: no one expects detail, and it makes for a pleasant exchange. We do the same when we write, but the extra time we have to compose a letter or email gives us the opportunity to be more creative and engage the reader’s attention. So, what are the options?
Think About Your Purpose
In a professional email, you might be following up on a meeting or reaching out to a staff member:
It was a pleasure to meet with you at the office yesterday.
I enjoyed your presentation at the More Coffee Breaks conference.
Thank you for your hard work on the seahorse project.
If you know that the person you’re writing to has been going through a tough time, then “Hope you are well” might give the unintended impression that you haven’t paid attention to their situation. Instead, you could try the following:
Hope you have had a better week.
I have been thinking about you.
How are you getting on?
Make It Seasonal
We love to talk about the weather and the seasons, so why not reflect that in your opener?
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Hope you are keeping warm/cool in this cold/hot weather.
How are your holiday preparations coming along?
I expect this is a busy time for you.
I hope you enjoyed a relaxing holiday.
Pay Attention to the News
We all remember what it was like during the COVID-19 lockdown when our work and daily lives had to shift to accommodate the “new normal,” and we adapted our email sign-offs to reflect that. Showing that sort of awareness doesn’t have to be confined to pandemics. Referring to events that might affect the person you’re writing to will sound more sincere than a generic “Hope you are well”:
I hope you have not been badly affected by the floods I read about in your area.
I heard about the escaped tiger in your town and hope you are keeping safe.
Make It Personal
Even in a business context, you may know the person you’re writing to well, and, just like in your salutation and valediction, it would be appropriate to reflect that.
Hope all is well with you and the family.
How’s life in the city?
How you doin’?*
*(This might work if you’re friends, know they like Friends, and humor fits with the rest of your email.)
Having taken the time to tailor your letter or email to its recipient and purpose, the last thing you want is for that good impression to be spoiled by some accidental spelling or grammar mistakes or poor word choice. Read before you click Send. If you’d like an expert view, we have a team who can help – just upload a free sample today to find out more.