6 polite phrases that are not so polite
1. “Thanks in advance.”
In your mind, you believe you’re expressing gratitude for a future favor. However, this phrase really comes across as presumptuous—by saying thank you in advance, you’re taking away the other person’s right to turn down the request.
Instead, simply close with, “Thank you.”
2. “If you could handle this ASAP, that would be great.”
“ASAP” translates to “My time is more important than yours, so drop everything to complete this task.
Rather than using this acronym, explain the reason for the urgency. For example, you might say, “Could you please send me the finalized analytics? Jake has asked to see the report by 4 PM.” If the other person knows there’s a deadline, he or she won’t need to hear “ASAP.”
3. “This is an important email, so please read to the end.”
Asking your recipients to read the entire email implies that they don’t usually read their messages thoroughly. That’s a big assumption to make—especially when you’re emailing multiple people, which is usually when this statement comes into play.
To communicate the importance of your email, open with something along the lines of:
This is going to be lengthier than usual, so bear with me! I’m explaining the departmental changes we’re making this quarter…”
4. “I’m not sure if you got my email, but…”
When people use this phrase, they’re really saying, “I sent an email and you never responded.” In other words, it’s a classic guilt trip. Your recipients will not be happy to see this line in your emails.
As an alternative, say, “I wanted to follow up on my email from [date].”
Worried that the person will ignore you again? Add, “Let me know if you have time today for a quick meeting to discuss.”
5. “Wanted to push this to the top of your inbox.”
This phrase is also a bad idea, for the same reasons as above. Basically, you’re saying that you don’t trust the recipient to answer you in the time frame you’re looking for.
Instead, try, “I know you’re super busy with [x project], but do you think you’ll have a chance to get back to me on this before [date/time]? I need it by then because…”
6. “As I’m sure you know…”
If someone knows something, then why on earth would you repeat it? This really sounds like, “You should know this, but I’m not sure you do, so I’m going to tell you.”
The fix is simple: Just take the phrase out completely. So if before, you’d written, “As I’m sure you know, we’ve had a lot of turnover recently,” instead say, “We’ve had a lot of turnover recently.”