Confidence is as much about how you come across as it is about feeling it. In today’s digitalised world, one of the most common methods of communicating is by writing emails.
In fact, on average we spend 28% of our working days, reading and replying to emails. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we master the technique of writing in a professional manner that conveys confidence (and not arrogance).
Read this article to learn 3 common mistakes we make when writing emails. Avoid these mistakes to write “confident sounding” emails that properly convey your needs and leave a powerful impact on the reader.
3 common mistakes we make when writing emails:
Most email often have several words and phrases that are just “fillers.” This usually happens when your command over English is not perfect.
Filler Sentence: “I, like, really think I’d do good work at this job you know?”
Good Sentence: “I will certainly be good at this job.”
Filler words and phrases not only weaken the message but also make you sound less confident.
Here is a short list of “filler” words that you should avoid when writing emails:
Example: “I just wanted to check if you have any feedback on the copy I sent over.”
Example: “I think we should check the patient’s white blood cell count.”
- “I mean”
Example: “I mean, maybe not my laptop but my external hard drive.”
- “OK, so…”
Example: “Ok, so what you’re saying is that Florida orange juice is not from concentrate?”
- “Actually/ Basically”
Example: “I actually think, she is better.”
Example: “Well, you have, um, you have a little something in your teeth.”
Avoid filler words and phrases. Instead, be assertive and simple in your message construction.
2. Complicated words and sentences
People often try and use complicated sentence structures and words in order to sound like they are intelligent and have a good command over English.
However, in reality, readers can read right through this tactic. Moreover, such words and sentences distract the reader and weaken the message. In fact, research has shown that the writer is perceived to be less intelligent when they use overly complicated words and sentence structure.
Example of overly complicated sentence:
“A cardholder becomes eligible for this Overseas travel insurance when, before leaving Australia on an overseas journey, they have a return overseas travel ticket, and A$500 of each of their prepaid travel costs (i.e. cost of their return overseas travel ticket, and/or airport/departure taxes; and/or their prepaid overseas accommodation/travel; and/or their other prepaid overseas itinerary items) have been charged to the cardholder’s eligible credit card account.”
What's wrong in this sentence?
- Too many brackets
- To many clauses that start with “which.”
- A very long sentence with limited pauses
Perhaps, a better way to say the same thing would be:
“A cardholder becomes eligible for this Overseas travel insurance when, before leaving Australia on an overseas journey, they have a return overseas travel ticket, and A$500 of each of their prepaid travel costs have been charged to the cardholder’s eligible credit card account.”
Therefore, keep the sentence short, simple and direct. If the text is too big, break it up into short paragraphs with headings.
“If you are smart, people will pick up on it. No need to try and prove it to them.” – Jeff Goins
3. Be careful when expressing intensities: Limit the use of “very” and “really”
People often use these words to emphasise or express intensity.
“I wake up very early.”
“I am really sick.”
Another reason for the use of words such as “very” and “really” could be to support weak words such as “hard” and “good.”
“More than 90% of our customers got really good results with this product.”
“It’s very hard to set up a custom website if you don’t have a background in programming.”
“Very” and “really” weaken the sentence and make you sound less confident. Moreover, such words are relative and subjective, and therefore, add no value or credibility to the text. Instead, use powerful words precisely convey what you are trying to say.
The way you write can have a huge impact on how others perceive you. Avoid the following mistakes, and you email will automatically make you sounds more confident and intelligent:
- Avoid “filler” words and phrases.
- Avoid long sentences structures with complicated words.
- Be careful when expressing intensities: Limit the use of “very” and “really”