7 Ways to Make Your Emails More Professional

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. – Mark Twain

According to the Radicati Group, 2.8 million emails are sent every second.

As we rely more and more on technology to mediate our communication, the likelihood of misunderstanding and conflict via email increases dramatically.

Email Content and Message

Electronic communication can be broken down into two parts, the content and the message. The content consists of the actual text you use; the message is the intention behind these words.

Your audience interprets your message based on how they feel while they’re reading it, not how you felt when you wrote it.

As a result, writers can unintentionally be perceived as combative or sarcastic because they use competitive instead of collaborative language.

Choosing the Right Words

It is imperative to write in a way that accurately articulates how you feel, or how you want your audience to feel as a result of your message.

Although email seems faster, when disagreeing or communicating emotionally charged topics, it’s sometimes more efficient to speak face to face and document the conversation with a follow-up email.

If you must use email, choose these 7 collaborative word choices over competitive language in order to sound professional and approachable.

Competitive Language Can be replaced with Collaborative Language
Yes, but…


Yes, and…




And (or) However (or) End the sentence & begin a new one


Why did you do that?


How did you come up with that as an option?


You, Me, I


Us, We, Our




Help me understand….


Problem Focused (Unfortunately)


Solution Focused (Fortunately)


“Can’t do” attitude “Can do” attitude

These simple word choices increase the likelihood that your audience receives your intended message and keep the lines of communication open for future collaboration.


Jennifer Albrecht is the Director of Professional Development and Senior Facilitator with Learn iT! She helps individuals, teams and organizations develop leadership capacity, improve business practices, strengthen relationships and enhance performance to achieve bottom-line results.

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