I hope I’m not bothering you. This won’t take a minute. Please just read this and then I’ll go away. And if you wouldn’t mind answering me — whenever you get the chance is fine! — I would really, really appreciate it.
Have you written an email like that? Yes, you probably have.
So have I.
We didn’t use those exact words. But by using “just” and other minimizing words, that’s the message we sent.
It’s hard to avoid these words; email can be abrupt and cold, and there’s a natural desire to be a little conversational, to connect with the recipient instead of launching into what you want. But words like “just” and “I feel” can make you look weak.
Aren’t there enough people doing that to you already?
Next time you write a letter or email, check yourself and be sure you’re not using one of these:
7 Words That Weaken
As in “I just wanted to see if we can meet today.” In some uses, like good old “Just do it,” it has a commanding tone. But here, it’s the very definition of “less than.”
“In my opinion”
You’re setting yourself up for dismissal with this one. Give your thoughts without hedging.
“I feel that”
Similar to “in my opinion,” it weakens the idea you’re about to present.
Is it or isn’t it?
This is one of those empty words that serve no purpose except to stretch out a sentence that you think feels too short. It’s a throat-clearer used to delay saying what you mean.
That’s right – respect in business means never saying you’re sorry.
“Maybe” or “Perhaps”
Do I really need to explain these two?
Get Words for the Wise
Need some help choosing the right words? Connect with me on LinkedIn or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.