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No Place for Profanity in Business Emails

Avoid profanity in your business emails.

Common sense dictates not to use profanity and terms that are offensive. Even more so in today’s online environment. You have to be extremely careful not to use words that may be misconstrued by someone, somewhere, out there.

It may be someone you don’t know who may obtain a copy of your message or see a comment you wrote on another platform. You cannot be too careful about business and using your email address. Have you heard of branding?

Every little bit or byte you type could reflect on your business (or career). Maybe not now, but as we’ve seen lately, things you type could be referred to decades from now.

While most feel free to post what they like on their personal accounts, that line has been blurred. Even personal communications and online activities could impact your career down the road.

But when using your business email address, nothing less than being extremely professional at all times will do. As I’ve noted on this site before, if you wouldn’t type it on business letterhead, don’t type it in an email — or on any other online platform.

Not only do we have to be wary of using specific terms, but we also have to be extremely careful of how we voice any sort of opinion or point of view.

So what do we do?

Grow Your Vocabulary

Profanity is a sign of inadequate vocabulary or unsound judgment — or both.

Mark Twain once observed that “the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” It is never appropriate to use profanity, especially among people you do not know well. Instead, build your vocabulary by reading and studying to express yourself simply and eloquently. When you expand the number of words you know, you also expand your mind because understanding the words and their meanings necessitates understanding the concepts behind them.
Napoleon Hill

Consider the overall intent of the above quote. First, of course, you shouldn’t swear in business emails. However, swearing is even subjective nowadays. A term or phrase that was benign in the past can send some folks into a tizzy and visa-versa.

Work on expanding your vocabulary. Use the words that express your intent or tone instead of jumping for the bold button or adding multiple exclamation points or question marks. When it comes to your business email, you need to choose words over formatting every time.

What about the terms or phrases that may end up causing more trouble than the message you intended to communicate? You know what they are, so don’t take any chances. There is an endless supply of words to type precisely, specifically, what you are trying to relay.

Hone Your Writing Skills

I write quite a bit and always have a dictionary or thesaurus in an open browser window to assist me. Learn a new “Word of the Day” by subscribing to Merriam-Webster’s Free Word of the Day Service. You’ll receive new words in your inbox to learn each day.

If you think about it, Email Etiquette is just courtesy combined with the skill to communicate with the written word. So, build your arsenal (vocabulary) and take the necessary time to choose your words carefully so you can “express yourself simply and eloquently.”

By doing so, you’ll find that you are rarely misunderstood and highly regarded as a proficient communicator. And best of all, you avoid misunderstandings or the wrong interpretation of what you meant.

Share the knowledge!

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