We all have our quirks when it comes to language and nowhere is it more prominent than email. Because there is no body language, gesticulations, facial expressions, and attitude, we are left to find context, solely from the words we read. When you think about that for a moment, it’s a wonder that any business gets done from day-to-day. Ironically, just two years ago, a study conducted in the United Kingdom, surveying 2,500 office employees, revealed that an astounding 94 percent preferred email over telephones.
It’s clear that email is our number one means of communication, and, because it’s become so commonplace, we don’t regard it in the same way as we do face-to-face encounters. Our demeanor, tone, and delivery differs greatly from email to spoken word. Since email is so important to business, you would think that it’s used in the utmost professional manner, but, it’s not.
5 Words Smart Entrepreneurs Always Avoid
The fact is, we just don’t pay attention to what we’re writing most of the time. To many business professionals, it’s an informal method of communication, and, it’s closest cousin, texting, is even more relaxed (read: lazy). However, that’s simply not the case. Email is important, so much so, it can make all the difference. The words you type or tap are going to be read by someone else. That person or persons will not only read what’s in the message body, but read into the message itself.
If you want to become more successful as an entrepreneur or in your career, you can start by making a habit of talking and thinking more like the people you know or read about who are already successful. —Entrepreneur
Let that stir a moment and go back to the introduction. Since there’s no interpersonal communication, every word matters. This is why smart entrepreneurs are conscience about what they write, how it’s phrased, and what message is delivered. If you aren’t practicing the same discipline, you might be sending more than an email, you might be sending a message that you lack confidence, are somewhat lazy, or, unsophisticated. Here are the top five words you ought to avoid:
- Might. The word “might,” is generally used in different ways, but often, it’s meant to point out a possibility. When you use the word “might,” you are essentially communicating that you’re unsure. That’s okay in casual, social situations, but dangerous in business communication.
- Likely. When you use the word “likely,” you are making a very unsure prediction. What you’re really doing is opening wide and wild interpretation. Here again, use of this word in social and casual conversation is fine, but, when you’re using it in the business world, you’re telling the recipient that’s it’s unlikely you are in-the-know.
- Alot. First of all, this is not how the phrase is spelled–it’s two separate words, “a lot.” Because it’s run together so often, it’s become commonplace for people to write it incorrectly. It’s the reason the ampersand was dropped as the last letter of the alphabet. It used to be recited, ending with “x, y, z, and ‘and per se,'” which evolved into “ampersand.” If you write, “alot,” you’re taking a risk that the recipient won’t notice you don’t know this.
- Won’t. This is one of the best ways to ensure a negative vibe, along with a lot of frustration. While you’re being emphatic, you’re also demonstrating just how stubborn, or, unwilling you are in your ways of doing things.
- Usually. This is the opposite of the pithy directive delivered so often by the Joe Friday character from Dragnet. It tells the recipient that you don’t have all the facts, nor do you care.
Here’s a bonus: “irregardless.” Though there are some who say that it’s fine to use, it’s just unnecessary. Instead, use “regardless.”
And remember that communication is made up of words, tone and non-verbal communication. Based on multiple studies, non-verbal carries the largest percentage of influence in communication while words carry the least amount of influence. So, picking up the phone to use your words and tone is more effective than just text or e-mail. When it is possibly or efficient, use Skype or Google Video or an actual face to face conversation to communicate more effectively. Business gets done through trusted relationships, and these are built on solid communication which ultimately requires words, tone and non-verbal. Now go build your business with good communication. Who do you need to improve your communication with this month to grow your relationship, your business or career?