20 Phrases to Avoid in Professional Email
Maintaining a professional tone in your email communication is crucial, as it reflects your professionalism and can impact how you’re perceived by colleagues, clients, and superiors. To ensure your emails are clear, respectful, and maintain a professional demeanor, here are some phrases to avoid:
- “Hey [Name]”: While this might be acceptable in casual communication, it’s better to use a formal salutation like “Hello” or “Dear [Name]” in professional emails.
- “Sup” or “What’s up?”: These informal greetings should be reserved for friends and informal settings. Start your emails with a more formal tone.
- “Yo”: Extremely informal and inappropriate for professional communication. Avoid it entirely in business emails.
- “LOL” or “OMG”: Texting abbreviations and slang should not be used in professional emails. Maintain proper spelling and grammar.
- “Thx” or “Rgrds”: Abbreviations like these come across as lazy or rushed. Use “Thank you” and “Regards” for a more professional tone.
- “ASAP” or “ASAP!!!”: While “ASAP” (as soon as possible) can be appropriate in some cases, excessive use or urgency can come off as pushy. Be clear about your expectations without resorting to urgency.
- “I think” or “I believe”: These phrases can make you sound less confident. Instead of saying, “I think this is a good idea,” simply state, “This is a good idea.”
- “Sorry for bothering you, but…”: Avoid overly apologetic language when making requests. Instead, be direct and polite: “Could you please…”
- “Just following up”: This phrase can make you sound impatient. Instead, provide context and politely inquire about the status: “I wanted to check on the progress of…”
- “To be honest” or “Honestly”: These phrases can imply that you’re not usually honest. Present your thoughts and opinions confidently without these qualifiers.
- “It’s not my fault, but…”: Blaming or deflecting responsibility is unprofessional. If there’s an issue, address it professionally and offer a solution.
- “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure”: While honesty is important, it’s better to say something like, “I’ll find out and get back to you shortly” to demonstrate your willingness to help.
- “This might be a stupid question, but…”: Don’t undermine your own question or idea. Instead, ask your question directly without self-deprecation.
- “I’ll try”: This phrase can suggest uncertainty or a lack of commitment. Be decisive and say, “I will.”
- “Could you do me a favor?”: Instead of framing a request as a favor, be direct and specific about what you need: “Can you please…”
- “Per my last email” or “As I mentioned before”: While these phrases can be used to remind someone of previous communication, they can come off as passive-aggressive. Instead, restate your point or question more directly.
- “This may not be important, but…”: If you’re sending an email, it’s generally because you believe the content is important. Avoid diminishing the significance of your message.
- “I’ll leave it up to you” or “You decide”: In professional situations, it’s usually better to provide clear recommendations or make a decision rather than leaving it entirely to the recipient.
- “Best” or “Best regards” when not appropriate: Use a more appropriate closing depending on the tone and context of the email. For formal emails, “Sincerely” or “Yours faithfully” is often better.
- “Sent from my iPhone”: Unless your email signature is professionally formatted, it’s best to remove this default message, as it can come across as unprofessional.
By avoiding these phrases and maintaining a clear, respectful, and professional tone in your emails, you can enhance your communication skills and make a positive impression in your professional correspondence.