Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Emails can make things go horribly wrong.
You think you sound like a proactive, efficient, likable sort.
In fact, you sound like a pompous blowbottom who deserves serious emotional correction.
Indeed, I happened upon a list of 11 rude words you should never use in emails.
One isn't actually a word, but it might as well be in this context.
This list was prepared by Outsource Philippines, a company that claims to possess "Intellectual Capital for Total Outsourcing Solutions."
But does this alleged intellectual capital translate to emotional capital?
You decide, as we run through its list of 11 supposed email no-nos.
"Your recipients are smart enough to know how important emails are," says Outsource Philippines. Perhaps no one there has ever emailed the IT department. Still, how do you explain to someone your email really is vital? Put the subject line in capitals? Insert one of those exclamation points that insist this one is urgent? Or hope that your recipient is smart? That is, indeed, quite some hope.
This apparently makes you sound selfish. What, even if it's in the context of, "Stone me, why can't you get this job done already?" No, these list-compilers simply want you to appreciate when the "I" or "me" is understood. Stone me, I don't think we Americans can manage without at least a couple of I's and me's. We're all about our individuality, you see.
What? Well, apparently, using this word in an email to someone "makes it sound like they did something wrong." Perhaps in the context of, "You useless lump of post-digested lard." But surely not in the context of, "When do you think you'll be finished on the Ewetree Project?"
The compilers believe this word makes you sound demanding. I think they may need their heads examined. America, for example, is built on needs. We express them at every turn, at every Starbucks. I need a grande nonfat latte. I don't just want one. These intellectual compilers believe you should include a deadline instead of saying you need something. I need to talk to them right now.
This is allegedly verboten in the context of, "No, it's in Michigan." Just omit the no, say the compilers. Oh, no. It all depends on the nuance, doesn't it? What do you mean, "No, it doesn't"?
The mistake here, as far as the outsourcing intellectuals are concerned, is that you should never apologize in an email. You should always do it in person. But in business, how often do you ever see the people you work "with"? Sometimes the need for apology is immediate. This is because you're sometimes a sorry mess of a human being. Sorry, this advice is a no-no for me.
7. Exclamation points.
I want to have sympathy with this. I don't see the point of these things. The intellectual compilers are perfectly happy with one exclamation point, but not more than one. That's crazy!!!!! In the U.S., we love to get excited!!! We live to get excited!!! When you're excited, you need to make your excitement visually exciting!!!! Sample: We're going on a team-building exercise!!!!!!
The compilers' advice here reads: "If you don't want to have countless enemies, never use this word. It makes you sound insulting and annoying." What, even in the context of, "You could have blown me over with a gust from your nostril. The idiot CEO actually said that?" Actually is one of those words that actually need to be seen in context and then judged on their merits.
Apparently, this is strictly prohibited, because it is always "offensive and rude." I hate to be rude, but no it isn't. It depends on who is sending it to whom and what relationship they have.
This list tells you to avoid this word because of its difficulty to decipher. It either means "that's good" or "if that's what you want, but it's dumb." I am confused to the point of swearing. Since when has "fine" actually meant "that's good"? "You did fine" is one of the worst compliments you can pay someone.
These righteous compilers believe that anything less than "thank you" makes you sound sarcastic or unprofessional. They may actually be right on this one. "Thanks" has a slightly harsh onomatopoeia, as if it were written through gritted gnashers. So there's one thing I'd like to say to the compilers of this list: Thanks.