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Never use these phrases in an email – Part 1

08 May 2022 Myra Knoesen

One word can ruin an entire email and one email can ruin a relationship, says Sara Grillo, a Financial Author, Podcast Host and Keynote Speaker.

“As communication becomes more digitised, it is important to have the right tone anytime you are sending an electronic message,” emphasizes Grillo.

Here are the first four phrases, Grillo shares, that will stop prospects from wanting to do business with you.

Gems of rudeness

  1. Disappointed

“Whenever an email has the word “disappointed” in it, I know the person is about to say something insulting. This word is used punitively from childhood. I say this to my kids. ‘Mommy was very disappointed when you chose to hit your little brother over the head with that chair’, says Grillo.

“I just got a shaming email the other day with this word in it. ‘Sara, I was terribly disappointed to read your article about corny life insurance sales tactics’. Apparently, you can use this with adults, too,” she says.

“Disappointed is supposed to be a nice way of expressing discontentment, but in reality you’re implying that the other person did something wrong. It’s too emotional a word to use in business because it puts people on the defensive,” emphasizes Grillo.

  1. Don’t understand

Whenever someone uses this phrase, Grillo says it’s a red flag that they are frustrated. This causes tensions to mount in difficult situations. Refrain from using it as well as any of its derivatives:

  • I am not sure I understand.
  • There is/was a misunderstanding.
  • Cannot understand this at all.
  • IDK – This is the worst because it’s as if you are screaming, I DON’T KNOW at the person. Obnoxious.
  • I have no clue
  • The phantom question mark – This is where someone emails you and you respond back with just “?” or if you’re really irritated “??”
  • What do you mean?

“A nicer way of saying this is, ‘Forgive me, but for some reason the part that I am failing to grasp is this …. Would it be too much to ask you to please clarify this point?’ This is way less inflammatory because you’re putting it on yourself rather than them,” explains Grillo.

  1. Thanks for the outreach

“I’ve heard this phrase used two times and in both instances, it was just so sarcastic I wanted to literally punch the computer screen,” says Grillo.

“When used in business, the word ‘outreach’ has a sarcastic connotation that it makes the person who communicated seem ridiculous for attempting to connect with you. It brings images to mind of the American Red Cross coming to rescue a flood victim. Or some ‘team building’ ropes course exercise in the woods during some non-profit company retreat thing where we all have to wear t-shirts with a company’s logo because they sponsored the event in order to compel all of us to buy their latest product. That’s outreach for you! Continues Grillo.

  1. Apparently

“Apparently is a slightly condescending word that, like #3, conveys a sense of being misunderstood. It does carry a heavy blaming potential, so be careful when you use it to describe situations where people could feel as if you are pointing the finger at them,” she continues.

In part two, we take a look at the last four phrases.

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