For people we hardly or do not know, this is up there with "Hey, babe!" in our panic room of "email greetings that make us cringe".
"I wanted to reach out to you…"
Duh. Must you state the obvious? If not, send email for what, right.
"I hope you have been well…"
This is an insincere filler greeting and, touch wood, of course, I hope I have been well too! And even if I haven't been well, you're not really going to care, are you?
"Not sure if you read my last email…"
Yes, I did. But I haven't thought of a more adult way yet to tell you that my dog ate my Powerpoint slides last night. PS: This email phrase was also voted the most annoying one in a recent survey that Adobe conducted on more than 1,000 people.
"I'm cc-ing my managing director, my team manager, the canteen uncle and my cousin-in-law…"
Can you see-see what I'm doing here? I'm threatening you, oops, I meant showing you that I'm going to involve the entire world until you act on this email. While I no longer need to bother about it anymore because "Mandy from Marketing was also cc-ed on the email but she didn't reply".
"I may be completely wrong but…"
Maybe you are trying to sound humble. But this actually makes you come across as being unsure of yourself, even incompetent. Which is not the kind of personality you want to project to an important business client.
"I was going to come back to you but…"
No, you weren't going to. You only responded in this way because I sent 205 emails to chase you for a quotation.
Also, don't bother writing four paragraphs worth of a sob story on how your boyfriend of 10 years suddenly left you and so you went to find yourself in a jungle in the wilderness in Thailand where you had no Wi-fi to reply work emails. True story.
A simple "please" will do, please. The word "kindly" is not just old-school. Used in an email, it can sound naggy and condescending, never kindly.
"Can I call you to discuss more?"
Erm, not really, you've already sent me a very long email with all the points that I need to get back to you on. Let's leave the landline chats for 1985.
"Dear Teck Kiong…"
There's nothing wrong with this. Just that my name's not Teck Kiong. If you like to cut and paste your email content and send it off to 100 other people, at least change the name and the company name.
This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.