We send countless emails each day, and yet, many of us may not think too much about the wording we use. Sure, you’ve proofread and run everything through spellcheck, but are you checking to see if your language is undermining your message?
Here’s an example of what I mean. You want to follow up with a potential client who is deciding whether or not he or she wants to do business with you. You start off the email by saying, “Sorry to bother you.” You then continue by writing, “I just wanted to follow up with you,” then end it all with “maybe we can set up a time to talk more?” You hit send, not realizing that you’ve completely chosen the wrong words.
For starters, starting off with an apology makes you sound weak. It’s business; you shouldn’t apologize. It also sounds meaningless, like a telemarketer calling to apologize for interrupting your dinner.
Words like “just” and “maybe” also weaken your argument. You sound indecisive and powerless. Compare the above email to one that says, “I’m writing to follow up on our conversation. Let me know what your week is like and we can grab a coffee.” This version is much more assertive, professional, and powerful. You sound like you’re taking charge, and not merely begging or watering down your ideas.
Think about this the next time you send an email. Do you like the way you sound?