If you’re someone who gets anxious about how your emails are interpreted, you’re not alone. Communicating with your clients and colleagues requires you to be direct, while being clear about your tone and meaning.
So, what’s the big fuss and why should you proofread your business emails?
Miscommunication is an easy way to damage relationships with your clients and a sure way to alienate yourself from your colleagues.
Thankfully, if you spend too much time thinking about what to say or what not to say, there are a few tips to help sharpen up your business emails.
Start by taking a look at what you can lose in order to make your business emails more readable and less cluttered. Finish by proofreading your emails to ensure that you never include any of the phrases listed here.
Stick to this and you’ll soon be on autopilot when it comes to knowing what to say and what not to say in your business emails. All it takes is a few seconds and you’ll transform your writing into a highly polished, professional business email.
- “Sorry to bother you”
If you’re looking to be direct, opening your email with “sorry to bother you” is a bad way to go about it. What you might consider to be a respectful pleasantry actually undermines your credibility because you’re apologising to the recipient.
It’s worth remembering that your clients are working with you for a reason and that they should value your correspondence. “Sorry to bother you” sends the wrong message and you shouldn’t need to apologise for talking business.
Open your email directly and your client or colleague will appreciate it. Never open with an apology because your message should have a point and you just need to get straight to it.
- “You should…”
Sometimes you’ll be working on a project with a client and things will go smoothly without the need to too many revisions or amendments. However, when you get a more challenging project it’s important to keep your cool and stay professional.
“You should change this” or “you should do this” might seem like a great way to get across your professional opinion but it can easily come across as being bossy or rude. Of course, while it’s important you give your client valuable feedback and advice, you can’t forget the dynamic of your working relationship.
Have a think about how you can soften the blow when making a suggestion. Try writing “I recommend…” or “in my professional opinion …” so that you can leverage your advice without compromising your client’s authority.
- “I’ll try…”
Business relies on deadlines being met and agreements being upheld on time. If your client or colleague asks you complete a project by a certain time, “I’ll try…” simply isn’t professional enough in the world of business and won’t come across as reliable.
“I’ll try to get it done by Wednesday” or “I’ll try to find the time to get that finished” are two examples of how not to fill your client with confidence in your ability. Take a moment and think about when you can actually get the project completed by so that you can give your client a detailed timeline for completion.
So, get rid of “I’ll try…” and use something like “I’ll have the draft completed by Wednesday morning for you to look at.” Being precise and detailed comes across as professional and you are letting the recipient know exactly what they want to know. Just make sure to offer the most realistic time frame in which to complete the work, as you don’t want to let anyone down.
- “No problem”
Being polite is a must for your business emails but you can find yourself going a little too far with a phrase like “no problem”. What may appear as innocuous and pleasant to you, could come across as a little rude to your recipient.
Customer service professionals agree that saying “no problem” could actually make the person on the receiving end think that it is a problem for you. The issue is that the phrase “no problem” is a double negative and might not become a positive in the eyes of your client or colleague.
Changing this is simple and you’ll only need to use a phrase like “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure” to remove any confusion from your business emails. Take a look through the rest of your emails and see if you can tidy up any other double negatives and turn them into something more positive.