A few weeks ago, I started attending meetups of women in the Toronto music industry. Last night, someone mentioned an article on how women tend to sound less confident than men in e-mails because they use certain unnecessary words. While, some of those theories are somewhat debunked, or anti-feminist (because men should take women seriously no matter what), I think there’s validity in using these words less often. There are times to sound polite, and nice but when you need something done (especially professionally) here are some words to avoid:
Out of all unnecessary words, “just” is a word that is truly unnecessary in most cases. It can come off as too harsh if read in the wrong tone or too passive.
Example, “I want to follow up…” sounds like it will get more of an answer than “I just want to follow up”. You either want to or you don’t. There’s no need for “just”.
There are cases where it sounds too harsh. Example “just go over there”, sounds more pissed/passive aggressive than “go over there”.
In a professional setting you never “hopefully” want something to be done. Sound like you’re in control and less like you are complaining. “I will finish all this paper work” not “Hopefully, I will finish all this paperwork.”
These are essentially the same thing. These don’t help you explain a situation, in fact if you repeat any or all of these words in an e-mail it can ruin the flow and sound very distracting.
Kind of/sort of
It is or it isn’t. There isn’t a middle (at least most of the time). Don’t be vague.
Unless you legitimately need to apologize for something there’s no need to say sorry (but even then, a personal call is necessary). “Sorry for bothering you but..” No. Just cut the unnecessary apology and get to the point. You never want to give a person a reason to dislike your e-mail even before they read it.
Bonus here’s a word we should say more often: No. Learning to say no avoids other people’s priorities from taking over your own, and allows you to focus on your true priorities.