Stop Using These 3 Words in Your Emails
Ever agonized over the emails and messages you send to your coworkers and business contacts? Sometimes (every time), I read what I’m about to send in approximately three different voices in my head to make sure that it sounds professional and respectful. I won’t tell you exactly what the right way to write an email is, as the tone and content is going to vary each time depending on the person and the information you’d like to pass along. However, from experience I’ve noticed that when I use certain words in my digital communications with others, I can come off as demanding or unclear – especially to people who may not know me.
JUST – ‘Just’ is filler material. Try not to start your emails with "I’m just writing today to…" or "Just wondering if…". When you replace those inquiries with something more concise, you’ll come off as far more confident and assured to your coworkers. Conveniently, given the nature of filler material, all you have to do is omit it from whatever you’re writing.
Try "I’m writing you today to…" or "Hey Tom, wondering if you’ve got that report I asked for last week."
ASSUME – I’m sure you’ve seen this word talked about over and over again. It deserves an honorable mention because if you’re still using it, I promise you that it’s winning you no favors. Tread lightly with this word, especially if you’re communicating with your boss or a manager. Try communicating with "My understanding was…" and use that for a good starting point to go off on.
Change out "I assumed the deadline was this Friday," for "My understanding was that the deadline was this Friday."
ACTUALLY – Actually, there are no situations in which the word 'actually' doesn’t make you sound like a snob. Whether or not it was your intent, you end up sounding like you’re correcting someone, or telling them that you think you’re smarter than them. And no one likes that.
Replace "I’m actually impressed with this report," with "Your report impressed me."
Follow these few tips and I promise your emails will start to reflect the mature and professional person you want to project at work.
Amy Liu is a Digital Marketing Associate at FirstJob and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. In her free time, she loves exploring San Francisco and trying out tasty new restaurants.