In my line of work, I receive hundreds of emails, Facebook and Instagram messages every single day. It’s common when you put yourself out there and you have so many people reading your work, disagreeing with what you have to say (and rarely ever do people disagree in a respectful manner…let’s work on that) or feeling exactly what it is that you have to say. I typically do not respond to people when they email and send me correspondence. Why? Because most people are rude and hateful, and they’re not worth my time. We don’t all have to agree on everything, but we do need to be respectful when we feel passionately about something.
Just because I’m not a Democrat, for example, does not mean I am racist (really, someone called me racist because I am a Republican, telling me I must only be a republican because I am racist against our president), it just means that I’ve never been a Democrat – in all my 33 years. I’m not here to discuss the rude and clueless people of the world, however; I’m here to tell you that in these hundreds of emails, I find that many have no idea how to compose an email, what to say or how to actually come across sounding professional.
It’s difficult to take a person seriously when you cannot get through their writing, but it’s even more difficult to take a person seriously when correspondence is a prevalent part of their career. Hate on people all you want with your poor grammar and your inability to use punctuation but if you are responding to your colleagues and clients the same way, I’m wagering that very few people take you seriously. Here’s a simple guideline on what you should say versus what you should not say in communication in the workforce (or just in life, really).
Start your sentence, don’t use a preface
I could be speaking for myself, but sometimes I find myself annoyed to see a professional email that begins with the phrase, “Honestly,” or “Frankly,” or anything of that nature. Not that I’m above using those myself; I do it. However, I know that I usually do it when I’m feeling a bit defensive or when I’m upset with myself for not doing my best or for missing something I should not have missed.
We are all human, we are all imperfect. When we begin sentences with prefaces such as this, it makes the rest of our statement seem a bit less powerful. If you feel the need to say honestly in front of your statement, it sometimes appears as though you might not always be honest or upfront and this is your way of making sure people know this time you are. Or, it seems as though you’re trying to convince others that you’re telling the truth when you are not.
Even if you are just saying it to say it, as we all do, rearrange your sentence so that you don’t have to use the phrase. It does not add any value to your statements.
Use real lingo, not text lingo
Listen, I know what LOL means, and I get it. However, sending an email to a client or to your boss is not the place to send an LOL. I can’t even say that in a text message to my mother because she has no concept of what it means. Any abbreviations more complex than that and I’m out – and I’m not very old, yet. Your professional life requires professional language and not text lingo.
For example, if you are heading out to lunch and you want to let your boss know that you are headed out but you don’t want to interrupt her, don’t send her a quick email that says, “Going to lunch, BRB,” and call it a day. Tell her you are headed out for your lunch, and that you will return momentarily. Do you see the distinction?
Intelligent lingo, not lazy lingo
I have a theory that is very simple; people who take the time to use a thesaurus are just a little bit better at what they do. Let’s take a sentence that you might send to your boss or to your clients, and let’s write it with lazy lingo and then correct it.
I’m very excited to see all the stuff in your email, they are all very good things that will definitely help the project go better.
I’m eager to spend additional time going over the ideas in your email. The numerous concepts you presented should assist in exceeding our expectations for this project.
Do you see the distinction? It takes all of three seconds to make your emails sound significantly more professional, and don’t think that people don’t notice the small differences between you and everyone else.
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