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Professional etiquette

  • We’ve all received an email that rubbed us the wrong way. This may not have been intentional, but it still happened.

    Email is an essential part of the modern workplace, but it can be a tough way to communicate. You’re not talking to someone face-to-face, which means they can’t read your body language or hear your tone. This can lead to a lot of misinterpretation.

    What you’re trying to say in an email isn’t always received in that way. Certain phrases that you use to mean one thing could mean a totally different thing to your recipient and, as a result, your message could be lost in translation.

    To avoid any misinterpretation, make sure you eliminate these phrases in your work emails…

    “Per My Last Email” 

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    Do yourself a favor and erase this phrase from your email vocabulary.

    While you may use it to reference something in your last email, it comes off as SUPER passive-aggressive. You’re essentially saying, “Hey, I addressed this in my last email, and you should have looked at it before emailing me a second time.” That’s not leaving a good impression on anyone.

    There are MUCH better ways of getting your point across without coming off as passive-aggressive. For starters, you could simply state your point again, instead of saying “per my last email.” That way, you address the situation directly and your message doesn’t come off the wrong way.

    “Please Advise”

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    Now, some people may not see this phrase as negative…but hear us out.

    Using this phrase (especially at the end of an email) can give your email the wrong tone. It could come off as a challenge rather than a request. It could also come off as passive-aggressive in the wrong context.

    For example, if you’re elaborating on an issue and put “please advise” at the end, you could come off as saying, “Here’s what I’m doing to try and fix the issue; however, I can tell you don’t agree with it, so tell me your opinion on what I should do.” That’s not a good tone to set with anyone.

    Grammarly offers some great alternatives to this phrase. See if you can use one of those in an email instead of “please advise.” However, if you must use it, be sure to set it up properly and set the right tone.

    “To Reiterate” 

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    This phrase is simply unnecessary and can come off as a bit rude, especially if you put it in the first email to someone.

    Think about it. If you’re typing “to reiterate” in an email, it’s because you assume the recipient didn’t understand your message the first time. When you use this phrase, you’re basically saying, “I know you didn’t understand this, so here it is AGAIN.”

    This phrase can rub people the wrong way, especially if you use it in the first email to someone. Give them the chance to read your email before assuming they won’t get the point. If they have questions, they’ll send a follow-up email. THAT’S your chance to (nicely and professionally) explain your point again.

    “Prompt Reply”

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    Look, we get it. You’re a busy person, and sometimes you need a fast reply.

    However, there are other ways to get a fast reply from someone without saying “prompt reply” in your email. How would you feel if you got an email from someone saying, “I look forward to your prompt reply”? You would feel like you’re on the spot, right? It also implies that your matter should take priority over your recipient’s other matters (and that’s not always the case).

    At the end of the day, this phrase can rub people the wrong way. If you need a fast reply from someone, try giving them a call or sending them a message on your company’s instant messaging system instead of emailing them. Chances are, they’ll get back to you faster since your message isn’t stacked in their inbox.

    “Just Checking In”

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    LOTS of people use this phrase at work. People tend to think this is a lighthearted way to check in on things.

    However, using this phrase when following up at work can do more damage than you think. When you use it, you’re basically saying, “Hey, I noticed you haven’t done your part yet.” You’re checking in on them in a (seemingly) nonchalant way, but trust us, the recipient of your email will see through it. It could really rub them the wrong way, especially since you aren’t being direct about what you want in your email.

    There are plenty of other ways to follow up via email without using the phrase “just checking in,” so please, use one of them next time you’re looking for a status update.

    At the end of the day, it’s important you set the right tone in your work emails. Using the right words in the right context can save you from coming off the wrong way. Having a clear and direct message in emails is crucial for workplace communications, and by eliminating these phrases from your email arsenal, you’ll be a better communicator.

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    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • You’re ready to make a change in your career and have secured a new job (hopefully!). Now, it’s time to quit your current job.

    First things first: Unless we’re talking about an extreme circumstance, you should never walk into your boss’ office and say “I quit!” That’s unprofessional and could have severe professional consequences in the future.

    It’s important to maintain your personal brand as a hardworking professional. The way you end this career chapter is part of that brand.

    Here’s how to be professional when you quit your job:

    Give A Proper Notice

    Since we’re talking about being professional, we should probably say “resign” instead of “quit.” If you do things right, you won’t leave the company high and dry. Instead, you’ll give your team proper notice so they can plan accordingly.

    A proper notice of resignation is typically two weeks. Sometimes people are in a position to give a longer notice and sometimes people give a shorter notice, depending on the company policy and what you’ve negotiated for as part of your new job.

    If you’re in a position where you have to give a shorter notice, such as one week, make sure to clearly explain the situation to your boss, apologize for the inconvenience, and ask if there’s anything extra you can do in your last week to help ease their transition.

    Be Polite And Grateful

    Young professional giving resignation to boss during a meeting

    Resignations should always be done in person. That said, you’ll want to have a paper trail to cover your bases if anything happens, so be sure to email your boss your resignation letter immediately following your conversation.

    Once you’re face-to-face with your boss, explain that you felt the time was right to make a change and you came across a new opportunity that you ultimately thought would be a better fit. Be humble and thank your boss for the opportunity to work with the company and wish your boss and company well.

    In many ways, your conversation with your boss will mirror your resignation letter: short and to the point.

    If you have concerns or complaints about the company, avoid airing them out during your resignation. Unless there’s a terrible reason for your leaving that could put others in harm’s way, don’t bring up your drama.

    If your boss asks for feedback, keep it constructive, short, and to the point. If you can offer some minor feedback that may improve the company, then give it a try, but there’s no need to dissect every issue the company may have.

    Finish The Job Strong

    Coworkers talk while they work on a project

    As legendary New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick would say, “Do your job!”

    Just because you’re leaving the company doesn’t mean you should slack off. Continue to work hard and be fully engaged with the job until the very end.

    It’s important to leave the job on a positive note because you want to have some professional references for future job searches.

    In addition, former bosses and colleagues are great people to have in your professional network. You never know when a past professional connection could help you score a new job in the future.

    Be Sure To Say Goodbye

    Woman packs up her desk before leaving her job

    The last day on the job is a good time to sew up future professional references and discuss ways to keep in touch with former co-workers. Some jobs require exit interviews. But if that’s not the case with your job, make an effort to visit your boss one last time.

    It’s a good idea to again express gratitude for the opportunity to work at the company.

    Leave on good terms with as many people as possible.

    Positivity and professionalism are the keys to leaving any job. Jobs are temporary but the legacy you leave behind as an employee remains.

    Whenever possible, you want to enter and leave each opportunity on a positive note because each experience tells a story about yourself as a professional.

    With career changes happening more frequently now, it’s more important than ever to have a strong background of positive experiences with former employers. Follow the tips above to properly quit your job and leave on a good note.

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    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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