Communication Skills

Words and phrases to never use in email. Ever.

If you’re on the conservative side, you may want to just take my word for it. Don’t use the phrase, “Hope this helps” in an email. On the other hand, if you want a laugh (and you don’t mind a bit of obscene language), read ScaryDuck’s post: A bit of email etiquette. (Hope this helps really means – now leave me alone [or something like that].)

Steve Griffith posted his comments today about not using the phrase, “No problem.” (Thanks, Steve, for the shout out and inspiration!). No problem? Whoever thought it would be? Try writing (or saying), “You’re welcome” or even (when you mean it), “My pleasure.”

Stay away from asking someone to “Call if you have questions or concerns.” Concerns? Why plant the seed that something may concern them? Questions says it all. (And really, you should call them if you think they may have concerns, or even questions!)

“Just my 2 cents” is another stay away from phrase. What is the recipient supposed to do with your 2 cents? If it didn’t matter to you, the writer, you never would have written your 2 cents. So don’t diminish your ideas and don’t confuse your reader. By telling her your 2 cents, do you want her to reconsider her original actions? Say what you mean.

“Win-win” is an oldie and a bad-ie. Most folks only care if they win; if the other person does too, that means they didn’t really. Forget about yourself and only focus on the other person’s win.

Finally, one of my favorites is ending an email with “What do you think?” Do you really want to know what the other person thinks? If so, you have options. Pick up the phone and discuss their thoughts or guide them to providing the information you need to take the next step, like this:

“If you think this idea will work, please approve. As soon as I receive your approval, I’ll create the budget and set up an Outlook meeting for us.”

Or:

“My recommendation is to follow Plan B and if you prefer Plan A, that works too. Please let me know your preference and I’ll ….”

What other words and phrases drive you crazy?

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