Well, there’s nothing like a clear and concise but perfectly put sentence to make sure your message is received as you want it to be.
Email is still the best way to communicate for business purposes but the gap there is huge. Unlike chatting, emails take a while to get a reply, so it’s less likely for you to be able to gauge what the receiver is thinking. However, if you want to get your point across properly, correct phrasing is extremely useful if you want to write emails like a boss.
Here are several examples:
Instead of: “The deadline for this is tomorrow, around __:__.”
Write: “When do you think can you get this done?” or “It’d be preferable if you can get this done today so we can have more time to discuss if there are any changes that need to be made before the deadline tomorrow.”
There are people who don’t see the importance of deadlines because they assume they can extend, so they don’t push themselves enough to work hard. If you simply state the deadline, more often than not, they will just ignore it. But if you ask them directly when they’re going to finish the task or you state clearly when it should be done, then they’ll be forced to be responsible and productive because they know there’s someone waiting for it!
Instead of: “Sorry for the delay.”
Write: “Thank you for your patience.”
Even the punctual ones can be late. Instead of apologising, thank them for waiting.
Instead of: “What works best for you?”
Write: “Could you do __:__?”
Such a smooth way of asking of their availability where you’re sure the time works for you, too.
Instead of: “No problem!” or “No worries!”
Write: “Always happy to help!”
“No problem” is a cliche that doesn’t really sound sincere anymore.
Instead of: “I think maybe we should __.”
Write: “It’d be best if we __.”
“I think” is a word that’s uncertain and weak. Sometimes, assertiveness works well when writing emails like this one.
Instead of: *rewriting email for 40 minutes*
Write: “It’d be easier to discuss in person.”
It’s kind of exhausting to write everything down when you have a lot to say. So instead of writing lengthy emails that other people will not want to read fully, how about you meet and discuss over a cup of coffee. You can also receive feedback much faster.
Instead of: “Hopefully that makes sense?”
Write: “Let me know if you have questions.”
Again, assertiveness can be good in several cases just like this.
Instead of: “Just wanted to check in.”
Write: “When can I expect an update?”
Another smooth way to ask for feedback or an update without being too harsh.
9. I Made A Small Error
Instead of: “Ahh sorry! My bad. Totally missed that.”
Write: “Nice catch! Updated file attached. Thanks for letting me know!”
Don’t feel bad about making mistakes because mistakes aren’t something that you should be ashamed of. Learn from them! Instead of apologising, how about you make it more positive.
Instead of: “Could I possibly leave early?”
Write: “I will need to leave for __ at __:__.”
It’s uncomfortable to leave in the middle of a meeting so it’s best to put your schedule out there before delving in deep to the discussion. That way, everyone involved is on the same page.
Here’s a useful chart!
Most people aren’t fond of reading long messages, so if you send them one that contains two paragraphs with eight sentences each, they’ll just skim it and will ignore most of what’s written on it, or worse, will not read it at all. This behaviour isn’t really laziness, it’s just that people don’t want to waste their time. Get straight to the point and specify all the important details. Clear and concise.
I said earlier that long paragraphs aren’t going to work, so why not get your facts straight and make a list?
Can you see what I did there? Did you find it difficult to read? Did you get tired reading it from start to bottom? Did you misunderstand anything? No? Then that’s the point!
Of course, before you get worried about the content, you should first think of a good subject for your email because that’s the first thing the recipient sees! Make sure that you only put specific keywords on the subject area and don’t make it vague.
One of the reasons why we’re talking about this entire “writing email like a boss” is because I want to help you be conversational or casual than formal when it comes to composing your email. You see, using the active voice really helps in setting a different tone to your email because, well, it’s uncomplicated and upfront compared to the passive voice. If you don’t know the difference between the two, a simple but clear explanation can be found below.
Apart from the use of active voice, you shouldn’t use “sugar coated” phrases either, like these:
Email 1: “I can’t understand the instruction. I need more details.”
Email 2: “If you could add more details we will probably be able to see eye-to-eye on this one.”
Obviously, the second one is much better. It’s more authoritative and makes you sound like….like a boss!
There’s nothing wrong with saying sorry, but don’t overdo it! There’s a psychological explanation for that, but it doesn’t remove the fact that saying sorry oftentimes is something that people shouldn’t do. If you’re one of those people, don’t feel apologetic all the time. The thing is, it wouldn’t only affect you. It would also affect the people you’re feeling sorry for. That is, they’ll feel guilty over something they shouldn’t feel guilty about!
What you feel you have to say: “I’m sorry for sending this late. I never thought I’d go through ups and downs and lefts and rights doing this. I really want to apologise. I’m deeply sorry.”
What you should say: “Thank you for waiting. Here’s the thing you asked me to do.”
Do other people a favour and instead of saying sorry, say thank you instead. Be grateful. Know that you can’t predict what will happen in the future. If ever you weren’t able to meet the deadline, finish it as fast as you can and do better next time.
Don’t make yourself available any time of the day.
It’s in the nature of people to have opinions, so don’t feel bad if you think opposite of everybody else. Bosses lead so don’t hesitate to voice out. Don’t just agree if at the back of your mind you’re against it. Don’t say yes if you just feel obliged to say so because you’re afraid to say no. If the idea is wrong or something can be improved, state your opinion properly. Genius ideas usually come after a series of discussions from several perspectives.
What the boss means: “Can you edit the introduction part? It needs to contain more specific information. Thank you.”
What the boss says: “Please add more info on the intro, thanks”
Again, be specific. Keep it short, but not too short to the point that it doesn’t make any sense anymore. Eliminate the words that are unnecessary and just stick to the main idea.
It’s very unprofessional if you leave a message in your inbox unread for so many days. Replying to an email fast or within a reasonable time sends a message that you are responsible. Even if it only demands you a simple “okay”, you should let that “okay” reach them. If you received something that’s just for your information, you should say “noted”. If they sent you a document you requested, “got it” is fine. You see, no matter how short the response is, it’s a basic etiquette to let them know you received the email and you understood and have seen what’s in there.