If you were to guess, how many emails do you think are sent every day? The answer is over 100 billion. Yes, this includes spam, but many workers have claimed that emails are very important and a necessity for their day-to-day job.
Writing emails could be one of the most challenging things you can do as a professional, as it’s very hard to set a tone through your words. It is also hard to under sell yourself and your credibility, and that’s not even the worst part! We as humans are unaware of the damages certain words can cause on our day-to-day life, especially through emails.
Emails are supposed to be clear, precise and effective, and you can achieve that by avoiding the following 7 words.
This one is my worst enemy! There are times where “hopefully” is acceptable and there are times where it’s not. So it’s better to be safe than sorry. Let’s say that it’s your introductory sentence, it is okay to use this or even use “hoping” or “hope.” For example: “Hoping you had a great weekend.” But using it for a direct question or for a deadline should almost never be used. It makes your email sound very ambiguous.
- I THINK
I have worked in an office for three years now and I still sometimes catch myself using this more often that I should. It’s natural for us to downplay something we aren’t 110% sure about, and that’s where this comes into play. “I think” is just a fluff to your sentence and not necessary for what you are suggesting or asking.
Be direct with your feedback or response: “I think we should get to work at 9 am,” is not a direct statement. “We should get to work at 9 am,” conveys the exact same point, but sounds much more assertive and clear!
This one is used way too often. By simply placing this one word, you are undermining your confidence. There is actually research that claims the odds of a response are much higher when you know exactly what you want. By using “just” you sound as if you aren’t 100% sure what exactly is needed.
So let’s get away from “I just wanted to check in…” or “I’m just following up on…” or “I just wanted ask.” Drop the just, and just send it!
- KIND OF
This one is used when you aren’t specific enough. The worst thing in an email is to keep things vague. Remember, you want to be direct, precise, and as clear as possible and using “kind of” or “sort of” doesn’t do that.
Are you trying to be ambiguous? NO! You want to be clear about what you want and when you want it, so be specific. “Soon” or “as soon as possible” can be defined differently by the person receiving your email compared to how you may define it. Try replacing it with “at your earliest” or be even more direct by saying “by Wednesday afternoon.”
If you are Canadian, or heard the stereotype about Canadians, we are all victims of this. We say “sorry” too often and it is absolutely okay to do that… but not in emails. You want to be assertive if there is a conflict and adding the “sorry” doesn’t add value. For instance, “Sorry, 11 am doesn’t work with me,” isn’t as effective as, “11 am doesn’t work with me,” which is the exact same thing, but you sound more confident with the latter.
This word implies a degree of doubt. You don’t want that, especially in your emails. Tell it like it is and avoid this. Instead of “it should work” or “I should be in the office by…” use “Yes, that works!” or “I will be in the office by…” It sets a tone of confidence.
I’m not saying that I am an email guru and never use these words – sometimes the conversation flows email to email in a casual enough way that you can include these words. But for the most part, you should try to avoid them, especially when you’re unsure of the person on the receiving end. You always want to be precise and sound confident when sending an email.
Featured Image via Bench Accounting / Unsplash.