Men and women communicate differently. We know this. And it is even true when it comes to emails. When a woman writes in a certain way, it can be received in a differently.
Carly Hazen shares six things to never write in an email.
6 Things to Never Write in an Email
1. I’m Sorry
Don’t apologize in an email. Starting off with “I’m sorry” is a comfortable way of prefacing a request. It can be somewhat of an unconscious habit, and we tend to use it in place of excuse me. But by starting with an apology, we’re setting the tone that in some way we’ve messed up, when we really haven’t. We’re just sending an email and doing our job. Saying “I’m sorry” at the beginning of an email already sets the tone that we are on the back foot, when maybe, we’re not.
This one is used so often. We say things like, “just following up with you…” or, “just making sure you got my request.” The sentences are stronger if you delete all the “just’s” throughout your email. “Just” comes across as apologetic or defensive. It rarely does any justice to the email. If you delete the “just’s” and then read it back, it will come across so much stronger. Instead, say, “I’m following up with you…” or, “I’m making sure you got my request.”
3. This might be a silly question, but…
This is a qualifier. Woman especially need to be aware of qualifiers. Another example is “I’m not an expert, but…” When you use these phrases, you’re qualifying your statement before you’ve even made it. By doing that, you’re already weakening your point.
4. If you want my two cents…
It’s not necessarily bad to use this phrase. But, you can be just as powerful by stating your point without it, and then ending with something that is even more humble. So state your case and end by saying, “I’d love your feedback,” or, “I would love your guidance.” This is just as humble, but doesn’t weaken your message. It strengthens their response. Wrap up the email with the reach out. It comes across as saying that you care about what they think.
5. I may be wrong, but…
Here’s another qualifier. An example is, “I may be wrong, but wasn’t James supposed to take that part?” You can just say, “Wasn’t James supposed to take that part?” You really can just end the sentence without any kind of softening tools.
6. Does this make sense?
People use this with good intentions, but it does one of two things. Either you’ve just assumed that your recipient isn’t smart enough to understand what you’ve written, or, you’re telling them that you’ve just written a really confusing email, and they’re probably confused. If you have the itch to write, “does this make sense,” re-read the email and make it more clear. A good way to do this is to organize your thoughts in a bullet list.
Get straight to your point and end with something soft.