Every day we receive dozens, even hundreds of letters and messages. Correspondence has become an enormous part of our daily routine. This is especially so during the quarantine, during which 98% of all human communication took place online. However, we still make countless mistakes in texts, we confuse styles, and we use incorrect words, as well as grammatically broken constructions. If you’re already here and reading our blog, then you’re ready for #TheSmartWayOfLearning with #Savvy. Today let’s learn to avoid the 5 most common mistakes in business correspondence.
1. Cliche phrases
Have you ever had this happen to you? Уou open an email, look through it and roll your eyes. It’s those annoying cliché phrases again, at the beginning and at the end of the message, like “I hope you are doing well!” or “I am looking forward to hearing from you.”
They are characteristic of a business-like writing style and evoke emotional rejection, especially among low-context cultures, where a peer-to-peer and neutral format gradually captures communication.
Thus try to replace the phrases above with more personalized and neutral expressions.
|Thank you for …||Always happy to hear from you.|
|How is your …||I appreciate your help.|
|I know you are busy, so I’ll be brief …|
2. Suggest, offer, propose
These words seem to be the same and often confuse non-native speakers.
So let’s take a closer look at these verbs and their meanings:
1. Suggest — you offer something abstract — an idea, a plan, something that you think will be useful to others
2. Offer — you offer something specific — a thing, food, help, money, work
3. Propose — you propose something ambitious, such as introducing a new candidate assessment system, or someone writes to you with a job offer with relocation to another country.
|SOMETHING WENT WRONG||GOOD CHOICE|
|Let me ||Her manager suggested a short vacation for her.|
|Can you ||He offered me a glass of water.|
|I would like to ||My line manager proposed me a new job in the Sales Department with relocation to the UK.|
In this article, you will find a more extensive explanation of using the three verbs above. And real examples & excerpts from films and videos in the article will help you learn and practice.
3. Passive voice
Keep your passive sentences to a minimum. If you are already using the passive voice in writing or speaking, then try not to overuse it. The passive voice makes sentences more complex, lengthy, and complicated.
|SOMETHING WENT WRONG||GOOD CHOICE|
|Your candidates will be reviewed and discussed 😳🤯 next Monday and the decision will be taken by the end of January.||We will review and discuss candidates’ CVs next Monday and see if we can invite them to the screening interview.|
4. Wrong greeting
You are most likely not writing a business letter for pleasure, but because you want and expect something from the recipient. Not using a greeting or misusing it is like opening the door to a boss or subordinate with your foot. Check the table with some greeting examples.
|“Yo” — слишком неформально||HiHey|
Good [morning, afternoon]
|Dear [first name]|
Dear Mr./Ms. [last name]
|“Hey!” — довольно смело и нетерпеливо|
|“To whom it may concern” — безлично|
|“Dear sir or madam” — довольно чопорно|
|“Gentlemen” — весьма старомодно|
5. Say when you don’t expect anything from others
If no action is required from the recipient, warn them. Otherwise, they will scan the text several times, looking for a call to action. And it is not there. Or they will write you back and ask for an explanation. For that reason, a sentence like “No action is currently necessary” or “You don’t need to do anything, just keep an eye on the process” will save you from additional communication and wasting precious minutes.
So, which of the 5 mistakes do you think is the most common? Share your opinion and business communication experience in the comments.
Yes, and finally, one more thing, what are your top 5 mistakes in emails?