Remember the article about the four-letter word we need to stop saying in our August/September issue? We’ve received so many comments from our readers who confessed to using ‘just’ for ages without even noticing it! Great to know that they are already seeing positive results from removing that nasty little word from their business vocabulary. Needless to say, perfecting the art of business communication is a life-long experience. So, there’s a lot more to talk about, for example, have you ever made any of the following three mistakes?
Let’s get back to that article – why you shouldn’t use ‘just’ in your emails? It looks like you’re inconveniencing the other person with your message. It looks like you’re automatically granting that person higher levels of authority and control. But let’s remove ‘just’ from your typical email phrase. Does it sound confident and powerful now? Well, we’re done here then. But if it still says something like ‘I know you’re very busy at the moment, but if you have a second, maybe we could possibly meet at any time convenient for you?’, you should really re-think your choice of words.
To tell the truth, hedging requests is typical for many women. It’s a part of our social history where women were usually lower level employees and men were in charge. But we’ve left those times behind. No one doubts your position, qualification and experience anymore, except for yourself. So it’s time to find professional courage and start firing simple and straightforward questions to your co-workers and bosses.
Excluding exclamation points from a comment on your bestie’s new pet photo on Instagram sounds almost insulting (compare ‘He’s cute’ and ‘He’s cute!!!!!!’) But no matter how excited you are about that business meeting after lunch, you should try and show some restraint. Too many emotions in the written language might mean the recipient doesn’t take you seriously. Trust us, there’s a reason why periods still exist on our keyboards.
P.S. Ok, ‘Congrats on that mega sale!!’ might be a tiny exception.
You might be a new employee willing to establish yourself as a team player, or you might just truly and honestly enjoy decorating the whole office for Christmas – the reason why you agree to do every single task outside your job description is not that important. What’s really important is that you really shouldn’t.
Volunteering and being helpful is great, but if you’ve noticed these extra activities have a negative influence on your actual duties (you’re not getting enough sleep or don’t have enough time for a proper lunch break), decline the next one gently, but firmly. We’re pretty sure, there are a few more people out there able to bake cupcakes for Mel’s birthday tomorrow … and while we’re at it, that’s what deliveries were made for!