Business English Tip: Positive tone in Emails

Business English Tip: Positive Tone in Emails

Email is a great tool for communicating. Most people regularly write and answer emails at work and at home. While email is convenient and fast, it has some disadvantages. One well known problem with email is the possibility for miscommunication. Experts call this a “negative bias,” which is a tendency to see things in a negative way.

Facial expressions, body language and voice quality all add emotion to communication. Without these, emails can seem emotion-less. And often we interpret a lack of emotion as a negative emotion. Without other signals, we can think that the sender is angry or dismissive or demanding.

In Business English, we aim for a clear, confident and conversational tone. Given this negative bias of email, you may need to be more positive than you would normally be in order to be clear about your intentions. Furthermore, by writing positive emails you will sound confident, and you will invite a response. This article will show you some specific ways to make your electronic communication more positive. But before we get into the details, let’s review the golden rules of email communication:

•Always read your emails carefully before sending them. Read for spelling, grammar and tone. Ask yourself, “could anything here be misinterpreted?”
•Don’t send emotional emails. Trust the experts, and pick up the phone to talk or to schedule a meeting - more is explained here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/threat-management/201001/managing-conflicts-email-why-its-so-tempting
•Always include a detailed and concise subject line.

So here are some tips for how you can add some positive words and statements to your emails without sounding unprofessional.

Begin and End Your Email with Something Positive

When you begin with something positive and end with something positive, you establish a warm connection and you leave your reader with a good feeling.
Some positive phrases that you could use in emails include:

I hope you’re doing well
It’s great to hear from you
I hope this email finds you well (a little more formal)
How are you?
Good morning/afternoon
I hope you’re having a great week/a wonderful day
Thanks for the help/information/update/quick response
Have a nice weekend

You can incorporate these into your greeting or closing, or you can add one as a separate line. If you know something about your recipient you can include that. “It was great to see you at the party last week” or “How was your vacation last month?”

Add Expression - In Moderation - Punctuation and emoticons

While most people know not to write emails in ALL CAPS (it’s like you are shouting) there are other ways to bring attention to your message. Something that I’ve noticed recently is the use of exclamation marks. Adding an exclamation mark to a joke, or to a positive statement can add expression without sounding too personal. The exclamation marks on “Thank you so much for your help!” or “What a great presentation!” add warmth and enthusiasm. Make sure to use just one, however, and don’t overuse them in one email.

Emoticons are controversial. While some people think that they are acceptable in a professional situation, others say that they can give a negative impression. You definitely want to avoid them in any situation where you need credibility or if you are emailing someone you don’t know personally. If, however, you are emailing a coworker that you know well, sometimes a smiley face can make a request seem much nicer, as well as show your appreciation.

People often use emoticons to show that what they are saying is a joke. If English is not your native language, you should be careful about humor in a business setting. Jokes can be easily misinterpreted, especially in writing, and should only be used if you know well your recipient and are confident about your humour.

Change Negative Words to Positive Words

In order to have a really positive message try to change negative words and phrases to positive ones. Instead of saying what you can’t do - say what you can. Instead of saying something is missing, talk about what you have. Instead of “but” use “and.” You can apply this method to all of your business communication to sound more confident and to make your message more friendly.

Offer Something and Say Thank You

Finally, try to offer something if you can. Maybe you can offer information, or help. Offering something, even something very small, sounds confident and inviting. And if you are making a request, or if you have received something from someone, make sure and thank the other person. Everyone loves to be thanked.

How This Looks in Practice

Original email:

Gustavo,

Here are are the files you asked for about our client. Not all the information is there for this year, but you will see there is an increasing trend for purchases. We expect this to continue.

Yours,

Jenny

Now, with positive messages:

Dear Gustavo,

I hope you are doing well.

Here are the files you asked for about our client. Most of the information is there for the current year, and you will see that there is an increasing trend for purchases. We expect this to continue. Please let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help explain the data.

Have a nice weekend!

Jenny

See how much nicer this email sounds? We used a positive start and finish, an offer of help, and we changed negative language. This guarantees that there is no doubt about our feelings toward the recipient.

In Conclusion

So it’s worth it to put a little extra effort into making your emails sound warmer and more positive. It will make your electronic correspondence more confident and conversational. And you can relax, knowing that your email will be received well and you will not be misinterpreted.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
August 1, 2018
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Jenny Christofferson

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Hello! I’m a specialist in American English speaking skills; an accent trainer and language coach. I help my clients communicate with more clarity, confidence and impact. I offer both accent training, and language coaching; depending on your needs. My specialty is supporting professionals who must make a sudden jump in their English skills; whether that is because of a new job or an upcoming presentation, interview or conference. I have many years experience as an educator, and I am skilled at teaching speaking, writing and academic skills. Together we will create and implement a strategic plan for success. Plans with clients typically include: -Identifying the most important things to improve in your speech to sound more clear and authoritative; perhaps grammar mistakes, pronunciation issues or confidence -Improving the clarity of your speech; learning American english sounds and speech rhythms -Preparation and support for real time English events in meetings, webinars, presentations etc. -Developing vocabulary to help express yourself better in professional, personal, and small talk situations -Writing instruction to help you easily answer emails, write reports, blog posts and articles -Editing support to help you keep up with writing tasks -Speaking training including work on delivery, voice quality and creating an effective message -Developing your own “voice” in English - creative writing, storytelling, executive presence I have published many articles on Verbling about these and other topics; some are on my profile so please give them a look if you are curious about my approach. Please write me if you have any questions or sign up for a free half hour lesson and we can discuss how to make a plan for you to achieve your goals. I look forward to hearing from you!
Flag
English
globe
United States
time
2,267
Speaks:
Spanish
C1
,
French
A2
Hello! I’m a specialist in American English speaking skills; an accent trainer and language coach. I help my clients communicate with more clarity, confidence and impact. I offer both accent training, and language coaching; depending on your needs. My specialty is supporting professionals who must make a sudden jump in their English skills; whether that is because of a new job or an upcoming presentation, interview or conference. I have many years experience as an educator, and I am skilled at teaching speaking, writing and academic skills. Together we will create and implement a strategic plan for success. Plans with clients typically include: -Identifying the most important things to improve in your speech to sound more clear and authoritative; perhaps grammar mistakes, pronunciation issues or confidence -Improving the clarity of your speech; learning American english sounds and speech rhythms -Preparation and support for real time English events in meetings, webinars, presentations etc. -Developing vocabulary to help express yourself better in professional, personal, and small talk situations -Writing instruction to help you easily answer emails, write reports, blog posts and articles -Editing support to help you keep up with writing tasks -Speaking training including work on delivery, voice quality and creating an effective message -Developing your own “voice” in English - creative writing, storytelling, executive presence I have published many articles on Verbling about these and other topics; some are on my profile so please give them a look if you are curious about my approach. Please write me if you have any questions or sign up for a free half hour lesson and we can discuss how to make a plan for you to achieve your goals. I look forward to hearing from you!
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