February 21, 2020
Reading time: 4 minutes
These are the common words and phrases you want to check out before you hit send on your email.
Think about it for a moment – where do you do most of your communicating for your work and in life?
- In presentations?
- In one-on-one meetings?
- In the hallways?
Chances are you that use email and text to communicate with your clients, colleagues, family, and friends; just about everyone communicates through the written word.
If the average office working spends 2.5 hours a day reading and responding to an average of 200 emails, you need to write effective emails that get to the point – quickly.
Have you noticed that while some people seem more confident in their business communications, while others make you want to scream at your computer screen, “Please get to the point already!?”
Below are a few of those squishy, filler words people add to emails that make them sound weak. These are the namby-pamby words you want to remove from your emails immediately to turn weak writing into powerful writing.
I’m also adding 5 phrases you should consider chucking. These phrases are part of the problem as well.
Why the list?
My own writing inspired this post.
Ever since I started talking about filler words in my workshops (also in Episode 2 of the Confident Communications Podcast, How to Get a Handle on Filler Words in Your Vocabulary).
I knew I needed to walk the walk and talk the talk with my own use of filler words.
“So” and “right” be gone!
However, I noticed there was a holdover in my writing. I wasn’t writing the ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ that littered many people’s speech. My problem was the ‘just’ and ‘I was wondering.’
The polishing and paring emails down to get to the point quicker.
Thus, this episode. As you compose emails and documents (and in the conversation too), remove these words and phrases from your vocabulary. They make you look weak.
These are the unnecessary words that can make your emails (or your texts and social media posts) appear weak.
By eliminating these five words alone will help you become a confident writer, and ultimately, a communicator.
Here are five words I have removed from my email to make them more concise and direct.
Example: Sorry to bother you.
Why you need to purge the word: Don’t apologize for anything; chances are you didn’t do anything wrong in the first place.
Now, of course, if it an apology letter, then by all means. I’ve noticed that not enough people are accountable for their actions, so write it if you mean it.
However, if you are writing the word as a hesitation to a question, then it’s weak.
A word I have removed from my vocabulary entirely. Unless I am speaking to a Canadian. Sor-wee.
Example: “I just wanted to check to see if you have received the proposal.”
Similar words are only and simply.
Why you need to purge the word: “‘Just’ downplays the importance of what you’re asking; implying the person doesn’t need to prioritize or doesn’t require the recipient’s attention.
Example: “I’ll try to get the document to you by the end of the week”
Why you need to purge the word: You’re telling the person you are not organized enough to know when you will deliver or execute. Insert a specific time or date and stick with it.
Example: “I think you should …
Why you need to purge the word: You give the reader permission to dismiss what you’re about to write (or say for that matter). Removing the word ‘think’ adds confidence and conviction.
Example: “I need the article ASAP.”
Why you need to purge the word: If you need a task completed within a certain timeframe, then say it. ASAP is snappy and rude. If urgency is needed, then say so.
Giving a specific deadline is much more helpful than “as soon as possible” which can also cause stress for the person on the receiving end of your email.
How many of those words creep into your email?
You too? That’s why I purged them.
Now, onto the phrases.
Here are 5 phrases to remove from your emails immediately.
The phrases that haze the meaning of your emails.
1. Any variation of I am reaching out, I am forwarding, I am wondering. I am writing to you because, I am just touching base.
Get specific. Choose an imperative voice.
2. I hope you are well. That may be, but you already lost me.
The only time in my opinion that you can slip in the personal is the week after the holiday and New Year. Two weeks at most. Anything beyond this is pushing it.
3. “Please do not hesitate to contact me.”
The cliche of cliches of email. So unoriginal and, perhaps, disingenuous? If you want them to contact you, tell them to do so.
4. Similarly, – I thought I would reach out.
Too soft. You’re baby-stepping into your want. Be direct and clear will get you the reply you want.
5. How does your calendar look next week?
No one will want to be on it if you can’t get to the point quickly.
Remember, stay powerful in your writing, but keep an eye on your grammatical construction.
The weakest emails are the ones filled with grammar and spelling mistakes.
There you have it, the power list to remove weak writing from your emails.
Want to hear the list? Review your email while you listen to Episode 69 of the Confident Communications Podcast, The 5 Words and Phrases to Remove from Your Emails Immediately.
You’ll quickly hear the words you need to purge before you click send.