Hot answers tagged

194

I think your problem here is the word "luxury." Not only would the line flow just as well if you cut it out, but it's insinuating that the person emailing you isn't as busy as you are. It's probably being taken as "not everyone has the luxury of free time at work like you do," which I don't think you're trying to convey. Instead, that line could be ...


137

You need to work on your written communication skills. Being logical and factual has nothing to do with it. You're implying that you can't be logical and factual as well as tactful in your emails. That's simply not true. Let's look at why the example was wrong: the luxury of time Time spent doing your job is not a luxury. This phrase implies that ...


111

Communication involves two people. Instead of making a statement about the other one, make a statement about yourself. For example: It looks like I wasn't clear enough, sorry. My question is: (simplest restatement you can come up with). Do you know / do you have that info / can you help? My job involves a lot of written communication. Even when I ...


45

A possible gushing response: Him: "Sorry it looks like I am ignoring you. I have been very busy and answering your questions isn't a small amount of time." You: "Professor (Name), I can't express how much I appreciate the time and effort that you put into answering my questions. You've been doing me a huge favor and helping in my studies more than I can ...


41

Is adding such an obvious sentence necessary? Yes. As @Kozaky pointed in their answer's last paragraph, it's a big part of being friendly and reassuring. I agree 100% with that. I'll expand a little. As a teacher (with students) and business owner (with colleagues), I always add a last sentence along the line of "let me know if you need clarification or ...


38

"Ms." was popularized in the US to provide a form of address for women that is agnostic of married status. "Miss" means the person is unmarried and "Mrs." means that she is married. "Ms." is generally considered acceptable for all women unless they have communicated another preference or have a more specialized title like "Dr."


34

Hi, I had a question about the ad you posted on Craigslist. I was interested in the house's location, but I was wondering if the current resident is male or female, and whether he/she is looking for a male or a female roommate (if there is any preference)? Thank you for your time, Jane Doe The nice thing here is that it leaves open several ...


26

Personally, I add "Let me know if anything is unclear" when I'm worried that I've been unclear! The idea is to take the stress off asking me for help. I use it to mean: "If there's anything you don't understand it's probably my fault for explaining it badly. Don't feel stupid. Don't feel apprehensive about asking because you think it'll make you look stupid....


24

If you truly are not trying to be condescending, then you'll need to work with your boss to come up with ways to reword your emails. For example, instead of telling people that you "don't have the luxury of time to look at the issue right now" your boss might suggest saying something like I'm working on a high priority project that I don't feel I ...


24

This is a tricky situation. Your nephew found out not because she told him, but because he overheard some strangers' conversation and went online checking. I don't think something good could possibly come out of "hey, I found out online that you're doing porn - are you okay?" I have a friend who was an escort for a few years. Although he started doing this ...


18

I think that your response is professional and appropriate. Look at it this way: It is true that you did not send that email. You are being sincere and truthful about it. If someone chooses to believe that you are lying, there is not much you can do. Simply be honest, and calmly explain the truth (as you did in your draft). Sometimes however, tone can be ...


18

You need to break your dependency on this professor, for your benefit and his. It is entirely possible that he has been too busy recently and will resume "normal service" in due course. You just need to be patient and find some other way to get the answers you need. Maybe there is a Stack Exchange site on the subject you're studying, or some other ...


17

An explanation for the delay is often unnecessary I second what LMGagne said, an explanation is unnecessary (unless they specifically ask for one), and will only cause more attention to be drawn to the delay. Imagine the other way around, imagine it's you waiting for them to respond, and ask yourself; what would you prefer - them responding to your actual ...


17

Over the years I've found that it's usually unnecessary to explain a delay in situations like this. More over, that offering an explanation draws attention to the delay and away from the actual message. You might consider, where appropriate, mentioning whatever you've been working on or otherwise involved in lately without offering it as an excuse for your ...


16

"Be concise." I have always had the same problem. In a nutshell, I found the trouble is I over-explain and go on relevant but unnecessary tangents. Somewhere in those 5000 words will be one or two core ideas I wanted to express and in re-reading my own message I can often whittle it back down to just that. Sometimes I delete my entire message and re-write ...


16

I think formal language comes in to help here. You simply state what you want and ask if that's available. I'm looking to sublet with another female. Is your property available for this? or I'm hoping for a shared room with another single girl. Is that what is being offered? Formal language is this stance: "I don't know you, so it's OK for me ...


15

Simply restate what you think you've been told to do. Thank you. Now I will do x. If he does not agree, he will respond back to you. Just apologize for the misunderstanding and move on. This will "force" him to correct you and give you a point when you need to defend why you do that. However, do not argue. Be brief, apologize, and move on.


15

You mentioned the professor is retired now. To me his reply sounds like initially he thought you'd just be asking him one or two questions, but now you are basically using him like he's your professor with regular office hours. He's very politely letting you know not to bother him anymore and let him enjoy his retirement (he should be less busy now, shouldn'...


15

A short email is harder to write than a long one. People are telling you to take the time and put in the effort to write a short one. Let's say you're writing an email about how to boil an egg. In some sort of self-defense to ward off problems that have happened before you include sections on how to choose the right pot, a detailed discussion of the various ...


14

Is it good to use the abbreviation words in my professional communication? It's not, unless you're using it multiple times. When writing professional documents, you should always remain that way. Professional. even if it's informal or you're friends with them. You need to remain professional (you're representing the company you work for, not yourself). ...


14

A few bits strike me as problematic about that excerpt: The phrase "the luxury of time" could imply that you think dealing with this problem is merely a "luxury", while the other person might consider it a necessity. From their point of view, you've just minimized something troubling. I would personally find this offensive; it's not really a "luxury" to get ...


13

In business school, I learned about the formalities of writing an email. (Note, this is a US perspective) When addressing someone in a superior position (such as a professor), always start with the highest formality possible, just as you did. It is then up to the other person to dictate the formality going forward. A formal salutation and email will ...


12

I want a study that supports either using or not using them. Technicalities The technical term for this you're looking for is phatic expression: a phatic expression is communication which serves a social function such as small talk and social pleasantries but more specifically you're also looking for phatic expression(s) in an asynchronous form of ...


12

Your time is your own and you are allowed to put whatever limits on it you want. I recommend you add a section to your web site that sets out the terms on which you will help strangers. If you're worried it sounds stuffy, edit it to focus on "to enable me to help you the most effectively" sort of thing. And if you feel stuffy asking not to be addressed as ...


11

Just send an email that says something like: Hi, I look forward to discussing this with you. I am available Thursday between 2 and 4pm. Just give me a call, my phone number is (xxx)xxx-xxxx. [your name here] This does several things. It tells them that you are currently busy but approachable and that you actually want to have a dialog, as ...


10

I think it depends on the user and whether they agree with what you were telling them. We actually allow this on Stack Exchange as part of the limited messaging system. Moderators send private "Mod Messages" to users - only users with diamonds can do so - and the user can reply in a similar private (to all site mods and CMs) message or, on occasion, they ...


9

I don't think it's passive aggressive at all. Just a friendly reminder such as "Hey, when you get a chance, can you take a look at this? Not sure if you saw this or not. Thanks." Or however your writing style goes, that is appropriate for the situation. Anything that isn't judgmental. Make sure that you include some inkling about what the original ...


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