In earlier articles we have already discussed how you should formulate greetings in business mail and what to avoid when you are sending e-mails to your co-workers, bosses or clients. Some of these mistakes you can make in business correspondence are quite obvious and easily avoidable. Others need some more attention. However, mistakes are easily detected and get rid of. What’s more difficile and harder to distinguish are words end expressions that do not count as mistakes, but can make you sound a lot less competent or professional.
Terms To Avoid Using In Business E-Mails
The following words are not considered being wrong or as mistakes when used in business correspondence. That doesn’t mean that including them can not harm you nevertheless. Using them can cause your clients or business partners to think that you are way less confident, reliable or interested as you actually are. Don’t undermine your correspondence by filling your emails with the following terms:
Absolutely is a word that, for the most part, is redundant in most sentences you write. It is in most cases used to state that something is of great importance. If so, then use the according words instead of absolutely. Words you could and should use instead are, e.g., essential and mandatory.
Over the course of time, actually became a very popular word that is often times used out of its proper context. Furthermore, it is overused. Frequent usage of actually may seem like a good idea to state your opinion or bring a point across, but it is actually unnecessary in most circumstances. It makes you sound uninformed and officious, rather than eager and pointedly.
Basically underwent the same phenomenon as actually. It is overused and thus lost it’s meaning and all strength it once conveyed. Instead of using basically, explain yourself in easily understandable terms right away.
This one is not as obvious as other items on this list, yet hopefully can still undermine your confidence in an e-mail or even conversation. Using this terms can, in the worst case, portray that you are unreliable. If you are hopefully able to finish something, you state that you are not sure whether you will make it or that you have no control over this whatsoever. Instead of using it, give your honest prospect or a deadline that you can surely meet.
Honestly is used to add emphasis, yet it’s not the only thing this word implies. At the same time, you are stating that other things you said may not be 100% honest or true. If this is not the actual case, avoid using honestly.
This case refers mostly to the way just is used that really undermines your confidence. It happens mostly in cases where you just wanted to ask a question or the like. Sure, it is implied that you do not want to disturb, but at the same time, using just diminishes your request or, even worse, your role and position. Don’t just want to ask a question, ask a question!
In correspondences, especially in important business email, it is important to be precise and accurate. Using vague terms like kind of or sort of water down your opinion or statement. In the worst case, you appear to have no clue of what you are talking about. Inform yourself and get a proper explanation of the matter if you are in danger of using kind of in an e-mail. It functions as an indicator that you need to clarify somethings, so that’s at least something.
The term no problem often occurs when answering to a request. By stating it, however, you are implying that the favor or request you were asked is not a real problem – and could thus be solved by someone else or the person him or herself instead. If you don’t want to undermine a colleagues or clients request, use expressions like I will gladly… or I am happy to… instead. If you almost wrote no problem in response of someone thanking you for your help, rather use something like it was my pleasure.
Like honestly, really is used as emphasis. In colloquial speech it is quite common to use really in response to an unbelievable story – or as a modifier for adjectives. However, in most cases where you feel like something is really …, there are other appropriate words you could and should use instead.
Is something really important? Then it’s urgent. If something is really confusing, it may be complex instead.
There are two problems with the word sorry. The first is that it is often used as some kind of false apology, and thus often overused. If you can not make it to a proposed appointment, then state so and ask for a rescheduling. It is no reason for you to apologize.
The second problem is that sorry is a rather colloquial term. You either say it to your friends or someone you accidentally bumped into on the street. If a mistake occurred and you want to honestly apologize for it, then do so by using the terms instead of sorry.
Just like really, very is often times used to modify another word. And just like really, it can and should be replaced in such circumstances, especially in business correspondence. In fact, if you overuse very in your e-mails, it happens that you reverse the word’s initial effect. Your statements seem less important and less thought through.