The written word can more often than not be misunderstood or misconstrued. The make up for the tone of voice that is unmistakable in person, you have got to carefully and tactfully choose the proper phrasing.
For instance, I find that when I’m personally writing a message (be it text, email, or message) to my friends or family I tend to overuse the exclamation point or CAPS to indicate my exuberance towards a particular subject. Sometimes, though, not even an excited piece of punctuation is able to fully get my feelings across to the reader properly. Or worse, my words are misunderstood in a negative way.
Before you dash off a hasty email correspondence – broadcast message to your list, customer service message, or even a simple message to a colleague – check out these common but mentally unpopular lines that could have your readers opting out faster than it took you to hit send.
“Whatever you think”
This is normally uttered following a request for input, and in day-to-day life might be a perfectly fine response for where you want to go to dinner. In the business world, if the request was sincere but you either don’t have the time to deal with the back and forth or you believe your initial suggestion was truly the way to go, the three little words will very much convey your true feelings on the matter.
Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, co-founders of Food52, once commented that adding “just” to your emails makes you seem less confident. After taking a look at previous emails I’ve sent, I really have to agree.
“Just checking in” or “Just wanted to ask a question” downplays your request to actually get the ball rolling. Clearly you aren’t just checking in; your time is valuable and you deserve to know what is going on.
“Actually” may very well be the new “literally” or “basically” in emails. The problem with the word, is that it is often misused or thrown in where it doesn’t stylistically make sense.
This one is self-explanatory really, or it should be. Using “kind of” or it’s equally disturbing counterpart “sort of” in an email comes across as vague or wishy washy, as if you aren’t totally committing to your thought.