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Keeping a positive tone in emails

I regularly write over 80 emails a day working as a project manager so it's important to come across clear and polite as often as possible. As a general rule, for emails longer than a sentence or two I try reading them over one last time before sending, only to edit them to be more positive and friendly. A few general rules I try to follow are: 

  • Begin and end every email on a positive note
  • When in doubt, add a little personal touch
  • Remember to be as helpful as possible

Below are two examples of a response to the following email:

Alex,

Can you get back to me about the following changes? 

1) Is there a way to acknowledge when people sign up on the website?
2) Can we add a Facebook link button?
3) Will you put a link to the Events section of the site in the main navigation?

- Liame

The initial email draft:

Hey Liame,

I've responded to your questions below in red.

1) Is there a way to acknowledge when people sign up on the website?

The CMS allows you to redirect users to thank you pages or set up a confirmation message in the 'options' tab of the 'form editor' here: www.thanksforreadingthispostsoclosely.com/link-to-form-editor

2) Can we add a Facebook link button?

Will you send over the link to your Facebook page and let me know where you would like to place the button and we'll get this set up?

3) Will you put a link to the Events section of the site in the main navigation?

This has been fixed.

Let me know if you have any other questions,

- Alex

The final email after editing to make it more positive

Hey Liame,

I hope you had a great weekend! If it's as hot in Ohio as it is in North Carolina, I hope you managed to stay cool. I've responded to your questions below in blue.

1) Is there a way to acknowledge when people sign up on the website?

Sure thing! The CMS allows you to redirect users to thank you pages or set up a confirmation message in the 'options' tab of the 'form editor' here: www.thanksforreadingthispostsoclosely.com/link-to-form-editor

2) Can we add a Facebook link button?

If you'll send over the link to your Facebook page and let me know where you would like to place the button, we'll be sure to get this set up right away! I'd suggest putting the Facebook link in the sidebar, since that will allow you to easily add other social networking links in the future too.

3) Will you put a link to the Events section of the site in the main navigation?

The navigation is now all set.

Be sure to let me know if there's anything else we can do to help out, thanks!

- Alex

The difference between a dull and a positive email:

Both emails get the job done. The difference lies in putting in just a little bit of extra effort to let the client know you're there to both fix their problems and also make that process enjoyable. It takes just a minute or two to check the weather, lighten the tone with an exclamation point and provide some industry insight, but those few minutes can go a long way towards making your client relationships more pleasant.

Responding in red versus blue probably doesn't make a difference. But I've always thought of red as such an angry color so why not go with a color that says "helping you out" instead of "fixing your problems."

Subliminally friendly is friendly none-the-less and it's the little things that give an email the positive tone you're going for.

Comments

website laten maken's avatar
website laten maken

I asked for a logo in vector format today, and I got send a .eps file with an embedded .jpg in it... really had to count to 10 :-)

Clay's avatar
Clay NMC team member

I had a client call today who was mad that when looking at a site in their "AOL Browser," it wasn't functioning properly. We all have tough ones.

Also, I admire your client's resourcefulness to come up w/ an .eps file. haha.

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