We all have pet peeves, but in the professional world, getting on someone’s nerves might mean that a valuable professional relationship could end up on the rocks.
In a world where people are all connected all the time, the fact that we use otherwise informal means of communication to exchange words with superiors, clients, and co-workers means we put ourselves at greater risk of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person and at the wrong time. When mistakes happen, a simple misunderstanding often leads to disastrous results, and trying to take something back when the damage is done is often a useless pursuit.
The terms below are just some of the many phrases you should never consider using in a piece of written communication with professional contacts.
To prevent this scenario, professionals of any industry can gain a lot by trimming their vocabulary and paying close attention to their tone while drafting their messages.
While rereading something you wrote out loud before hitting send is important, something that sounds perfectly natural to you might not sound as professional to others. That’s where the decision to slash some words from your repertoire comes in handy regardless of what industry you’re in.
The terms below are just some of the many phrases you should never consider using in a piece of written communication with professional contacts—unless you don’t care about how they perceive you, of course.
“I’m sorry to bother you with this but…”
Taking responsibility for our mistakes, especially within a professional setting, is truly important, but using “sorry” often compels others to value you—and your work—less.
Who would want that?
Instead of apologizing for a misstep, use positive statements.
"Thank you for your patience. Here are the documents you were expecting,” is a much more concise and less effective way of apologizing than “sorry for keeping you waiting on these documents."
Considering that such retractions are rare, your superiors and co-workers will feel less troubled when you change your approach and might even forget you had a deadline in the first place!
“Emotions have no place in business unless you do business with them,” famed Swiss author Friedrich Durrenmatt once wrote—and he was right.
While it’s perfectly acceptable to show vulnerability under certain circumstances, both men and women are expected to show some level of restraint while dealing with clients, colleagues, and superiors. The same goes for all communications between you and them.
“Let’s schedule a call for tomorrow. Noon works best for me,” is more direct and simple.
“I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, can I get back to you later?” isn’t the best way to dismiss a coworker’s call. How about taking control of the situation instead?
“Let’s schedule a call for tomorrow. Noon works best for me,” is more direct and simple, and it doesn’t let the recipient get more information than you should be providing.
Simply put, it keeps things leveled and prevents business associates or clients from having to be too emotionally involved, which could eventually scare them away.
Fine in an informal setting, the famous “you know” is part of most of our regular verbal exchanges with friends and family members. That doesn’t mean it should be part of our professional communications, as well.Cut the “you knows” and “whatnots” and watch as your professional circle widens.
The fact of the matter is that no, nobody knows anything. And if they do, bringing that up is beside the point.
Talking directly and without filler phrases makes for more effective communication, and when discussing business, being straight to the point translates into honesty and trust.
Cut the “you knows” and “whatnots” and watch as your professional circle widens.
“I hope that…”
Wishing someone a happy holiday or birthday in a piece of written communication is one thing. Adding that you hope that a person is having a great time is something else entirely.
Much like “you know,” the word “hope” is a filler. When you use fillers, you sound unpreoccupied with the recipient’s precious time at best and disingenuous at worst. Why waste someone’s time when you can signal you care about them by keeping it short and sweet?
Believe it or not, an email today isn’t the equivalent of a pony express-mailed letter in the 1800s, and there’s no need to close your message with colorful sign-offs. Further, it’s obvious to the recipient in the professional setting that you don’t mean it when you use this outdated term, so why use it in the first place?
Because so many of us rely on email for so much, it gets tiring to communicate with people who insist on treating it like a novelty, or worse yet, act like a simple email is meant to be read as a piece of timeless literature.
Kicking the habit of using warm-sounding but empty sign-offs will help to keep your contacts from giving you the cold shoulder treatment.