Five mistakes that are making you sound less confident in work emails

Do your work emails always get you the result or response you want? Or are you making one of these five common mistakes when writing them?

Almost everyone who works has to send at least a few emails every day these days. But how do you craft your correspondence to sound competent and professional – and get the results you want from them?

Joe D. from FATJOE shares five common email mistakes many of us make that can undermine your confident image, and suggestions of what you can do instead.

1) Don’t overuse softening phrases

Common email mistake: Starting emails with phrases like “I’m just writing to…” or “I just wanted…” These words can undermine the importance of your message, and make it seem like you’re unsure of your input.

Suggestion: Be direct with your language. Start with “I’m writing to follow up on…” or ‘’I’m writing to ask/check…’’.

2) Don’t apologise unnecessarily

Common email mistake: Saying sorry when no mistake has been made. Phrases like “Sorry to bother you” or “Sorry for asking” can imply that you feel unworthy of the recipient’s time.

Suggestion: Only apologise when it’s warranted. If you need something, be straightforward and respectful. Use phrases such as, “Thank you for your time” or “I appreciate your assistance with…”. These let the other person know you appreciate their help and time, without making you sound like you lack in confidence.

3) Don’t hedge with uncertain language

Common email mistake: Using phrases like “I think” or “It might be” too frequently can make you seem like you don’t actually know what you’re talking about.

Suggestion: Present your ideas confidently. If you’re making a recommendation, say, ‘’I suggest” or ‘’I recommend.’’ Be bold! 

5) Don’t undermine your requests

Common email mistake: Phrasing requests as if you expect them to be declined. For example, “You probably won’t have time for this but…” makes it easy for the recipient to say no.

Suggestion: Be clear and assertive when asking for something. Use positive and confident phrases like “Could you please” or “I would appreciate your help with…”. The people you’re speaking to are (presumably) all adults; they can say no if it’s really required. 

5) Don’t close weakly

Common email mistake: Ending your email with phrases like “Just let me know” or “Whatever you think” sounds wishy-washy.

Suggestion: Finish with clear and decisive language, such as “I look forward to your feedback” or “I would appreciate your response by [date].”

Don’t say ‘’I’m no expert but…’’ or ask too many questions in one email. Use active rather than passive voice, and don’t water down your message. With the right best practices and etiquette, you can inspire confidence in your work capabilities.

Read more tips on writing emails

You can read more advice on how to write with confidence in these articles:

Author: FATJOE was founded in 2012 and has become one of the world’s largest providers of outsourced link-building, digital PR, SEO services, content creation and design, and videoservices.

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