You’re probably very used to writing emails, and aside from instant messages on WhatsApp or text, email is likely the most common tool you use for communicating. Sometimes emails can come across rude when they were never sent with that intention, getting your tone of voice right is essential as well as the actual content of the email. Every now and again, some incidents arise where you come unstuck, and you’re not sure how to put them into words and even less sure how to put them into an email. Here are a few of the most common awkward email moments and how you can avoid them:
Whether you’re introducing yourself or someone else via email, it’s always a tricky one to write. “Hi, nice to meet you” doesn’t work, so “Hi, nice to e-meet you”? Is often the one people go with. What you want to do though is start, not by highlighting that you don’t know the person but by saying something about them, for example:
“I noticed that you manage one of the teams at XYZ.”
“I just saw your post on Linkedin about…”
“I just read your blog and …”
Then you can continue by explaining why you’re getting in touch.
If you’re introducing someone else then address the email to both of them, for example, put “I hope you are both well”, then you can say “Joe, I’d like to put you in touch with Jon, I know him from XYZ and I think he’d be perfect for your project because…”
If you need to get in touch with someone because you need a favor or need something from them, then the first and one of the most important things is to be polite. No matter what it is you’re asking for, you also need to be considerate of the person’s needs and sell them the benefits of what it is you’re asking for. Why should they give it to you? Don’t beg, but also don’t just think about yourself, think about this person, what do they need, what do they want and show that you have considered this in the email.
Start with: “Dear XYZ, Love your website, especially XYZ. You have inspired me to do XYZ, and I have you to thank for XYZ.” – This will get the recipient’s attention. Be genuine, and then you can move on and sell them your benefits. Be clear about what it is you want and get to the point.
Once again, you need to be polite first and foremost. Whether it’s a sales pitch, an interview, or an event invitation you’re declining, always be polite.
Thank the person for their email and then explain that due to whatever circumstance you’ll be unable to attend. If it is something that you can reschedule then make sure you tell them this and give options so that you are showing that you’re being accommodating.
If you’re declining an event invitation, then you could ask to be updated on what happens or on the future events to show that you are interested and that it is just unfortunate that you can’t attend this time.
Then if it’s something you’re turning down completely, you want to say something along the lines of: “Thanks for letting me know about this, it sounds awesome. Unfortunately, it’s not for me right now. However, I will pass it on/I will let you know if anything comes up.”
Final, Important Tip
Always remember who you’re writing to, it is so easy and a very common mistake, especially when you have a huge list of contacts, to send an email to the wrong person or many people at once. This is a big mistake and one that people notice straight away. Make sure you send each email personally, address what they said to you in their email, make sure you get their name right and send it to them. If you need to send mass emails, then take your time and personalize each one, it will be worth it and will help you to avoid some very embarrassing moments.
Ultimately speak to people how you want to be spoken to, be polite, be kind and take time to show interest in what they are doing because you never know when you might want to invite this person to something yourself.
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