Unless you work in the fashion or similar lifestyle industry, you might not have seen someone sign an email, “XOXO.” If this is true, then congratulations you are saved from the dreaded downfall that is the kiss hug, kiss hug signature.
This signature is a slippery slope that can lead to fake email responses and unprofessional correspondences. Below I highlight potential reasons why someone might use this signature and options for replying. As always, I’m open to suggestions and commentary so please leave responses in the comment section below.
Reasons why someone might sign an email XOXO:
1) The person is your friend and feels it necessary to show that love via work email.
2) The person is trying to get you to do something like write about her client (this typically falls into the PR world of email signatures).
3) The person is trying to avoid signing the email with “best.” In this case that’s understandable. Signing an email with “Best” to me says that it was great talking with someone and you don’t plan on talking with him anytime soon or that you are new contacts and don’t know much about the other person.
4) The person doesn’t understand that this is a business interaction and XOXOs should be saved for Valentine cards and fun text messages with friends.
Potential responses to the XOXO Signature:
1) Sign the email with “XOXO”, too. This is most likely a bad decision and will lead to a downfall of XOXOs until both parties are falsely putting XOXOs to upkeep with the overly lovey email correspondence.
2) Sign the email with “Best.” If you read the reasons why someone might sign an email XOXO, then you may also now think that best is a way of telling someone that you are done with that conversation. This is appropriate to use if you are emailing someone for the first few times and have not built a relationship.
3) Sign the email with a “Thank you” or “Talk soon.” This avoids entering the downfall of the XOXO signature while also keeping the conversation friendly. This option says you are professional and friendly while still showing you are not joking around. NO XOXOs!
4) Other. Do you have any recommendations for potential responses for the XOXO Signature?
Now for some examples:
The XOXO Signature is unprofessional because it shows a deep informality in the workplace. If you are conversing with friends and would like to use this signature or similar text it is advised that you do so on non-business related devices IE personal email and personal phone.
Ways to go BEYOND the XOXO Signature: Suggest to the email offender that using XOXO is informal for a work setting and offer alternative ways for that person to be friendly while still being professional in email correspondences. You could suggest signatures like “Talk soon” and “Have a great day.”