Hi, to whom it may concern, I hope this finds you well.
We have made our stance on emails pretty clear over the last while, mostly at the behest of Seth, whose inbox is the stuff that nightmares are made of.
Then again, he’s far from alone, and people have been waxing lyrical about the slow and steady death of emails for a while.
Truth be told, it’s tough to avoid them, but you can take steps to ensure you’re not that person in every email exchange.
According to Perkbox, a company “dedicated to enhancing employee experiences” that surveyed thousands of people, certain words and phrases are sure to raise the ire of the person on the other end of your mail.
To start, from their survey results, let’s look at the best ways to start a work email:
- Hi – 49%
- Good morning / afternoon – 48%
- Hello – 21%
- Dear – 20%
- Happy [insert day]! eg Happy Friday! – 7%
I’m not a big fan of greetings that include exclamation marks, but I can stomach a ‘hi’.
Now that the good stuff is out of the way, let’s look at what you should avoid in terms of greetings:
- No greeting – 53%
- To whom it may concern – 37%
- Hey – 28%
- Happy [Insert day]! Eg Happy Friday – 23%
- Greetings – 22%
Ah, so I’m not alone in detesting the exclamation mark. What kind of a psychopath doesn’t include a greeting in an email, though?
When it comes to signing off a work email, ‘kind regards’, ‘thanks’, and ‘regards’ are the top three choices, whereas these should be avoided at all costs:
- Love – 57%
- No sign off – 44%
- Warmly – 31%
- Cheers – 26%
- Yours truly – 24%
Hang your head in shame if you’ve ever signed off with ‘love’. It’s one thing when your boss is WhatsApping you and his wife at the same time and accidentally slips an ‘xx’ in there (it’s happened before), but quite another when you’re L-bombing folks via email.
Being a terrible person via email isn’t confined to greetings and sign-offs, though, because the body of the email presents untold opportunities to put your foot in it.
As per my last email, here are the most annoying clichés:
- Just looping in…’ – 37%
- ‘As per my last email’ – 33%
- ‘Any updates on this?’ – 24%
- ‘Just checking in’ – 19%
- ‘Confirming receipt’ / ‘confirming that I have received this’ – 16%
I’ll admit to being guilty of one or two of those, but ‘as per my last email’ and ‘any update on this’ and ‘just checking in’ wouldn’t be necessary if other people were better at replying to emails with any sort of response, rather than leaving them for weeks.
Oh, sorry, I’ve been too busy to write a 15-word response saying ‘I’ll get back to you next week’.
To finish, there are those who Insist On Breaking Protocol With The Following Annoying Habits:
- Using capital letters for whole words or sentences – 67%
- Using kisses or ‘x’ – 65%
- CC’ing people who don’t need to be involved – 63%
- Using slang, eg ‘OMG’ – 53%
- Using too many exclamation marks – 52%
Yeah, I’m just looping in these 10 people who have no interest in following the email thread they’ve now been forced into.
OMG!! The Nerve.
Look, you email how you see fit, but just know that the person on the other end may well be judging you.
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