Technology has given us several avenue to communicate and stay in touch with people. But while using social networks and email, which are the most common, we fail to take note of the fact that they are different platform, and there should be a difference in communication. If you’re a business owner, or are employed in an organisation, one major means of communication would most likely be email. While these emails go back and forth, some words might come off as rude to you. But those same words might not appear rude on social networks.
When sending out your emails, do you take note of those words that came off as rude to you, to ensure you’re not sounding rude to whoever will be receiving it?
Emails are most times formal and professional conversations. It’s not your regular Facebook or BBM chat, every single word matters. When next you’re sending an email, take note of these words, they could come off as rude:
Is there a more everyday word than okay? We use it all the time. It’s hard to think of a situation where this word doesn’t fit. But while it may be super common, it needs some emotion, expression and context behind it.
If someone types okay to you – or even worse, the two letter ‘ok’ version – you’re going to think they’re pissed off. Even though there’s no emotion behind it, try not to use it in emails, as the other person might not understand. Instead, type more than a single word. You could add the person’s name, great or sounds good.
Obviously sounds as though the writer is pointing out that the information that follows should be obvious, but you, the reader, are not smart enough to grasp it. For example, Obviously we should move forward with the marketing plan based on the outcome of the board meeting. When you use “obviously,” you run a high risk of coming off condescending.
Instead, use something like – We should move forward with the marketing plan based on the outcome of the board meeting.
Actually is a word best saved for conversation. Any text using actually can too easily sound hostile or make you sound like a know-it-all—either one will be perceived as rude.
So, instead of typing – “I actually think it would be better if we publish the article in advance of the book’s release date”, saying something like – “Let’s publish the article in advance of the book’s publication date” would make you sound more respectful and professional.
Unless you work in law enforcement, words such as ‘apparently,’ ‘allegedly’ and ‘evidently’ can sound like you are contradicting or questioning someone’s judgment or portrayal of events. It sounds as though the person may have been sneaky, previously hiding something from you that you’ve had to deduce for yourself and then point out in the email.
Instead of “Apparently, the presentation is too long, and we should be more concise,” go for – “We received feedback that the presentation is too long. We should edit it to be more concise.”
The word ‘fine’ is often used in conversation as a form of compliance. It can have a negative or positive tone, but it is mostly perceived as rude and dismissive. For example, “Thanks for sending the press release to me for approval. It’s fine.” would come off as rude.
It is best to be cautious and replace ‘fine’ with ‘good.’ When something is not fine, be direct enough to let the reader know what is not okay so they are not left wondering. “Thanks for sending the press release to me for approval. It’s approved. Great work.” sounds better off.
No comes across harshly in an email. It’s best to soften your language and provide context.
Instead of using, “The answer to your request is no,” go for “I won’t be able to publish the article on Monday because I have three time-sensitive articles to publish, but I will publish it the following Monday.”
Share your thoughts!