While we sometimes use workplace buzzwords in emails for efficiency or maybe even to impress our colleagues, research shows they have the opposite effect. When we rely on jargon to get our message across, we tend to lose the directness and simplicity in what we’re trying to say.

Here are three phrases that could be doing your email more harm than good, and tips to help you rephrase before hitting send:

“Bumping this to the top of your inbox!”

We use this introduction when we haven’t heard back from a prior email we sent, but the truth is, adding this additional line only reminds the recipient that you’re continuously contacting them. And chances are, they’ll feel more overwhelmed by the additional reminder than thankful. 

Try this instead: Send a new email in a different thread, and rephrase what you wrote last time. A fresh set of eyes on the email will likely yield a better result than a constant bump to a previous message.

“Let me know if that makes sense.”

After explaining something in an email, a lot of us tend to sign off with, “Let me know if that makes sense.” But by posing that idea, it could come across as condescending and imply that the recipient likely wouldn’t understand our message. Or alternatively, it could imply that there was something confusing in our message, which is on you to fix and clarify. 

Try this instead: Change your phrasing to, “Let me know what additional information would be helpful to you.” This phrase comes across as more clear and confident, and gives the recipient the chance to ask any questions about your message without the condescending tone.

“Not sure if you saw my last email…” 

If you’re asking someone if they saw your last email, you’re immediately distracting from the message you wanted them to read in the first place. The key to an effective email is being clear and concise, so that means taking out this additional intro. 

Try this instead: Declutter your email by getting straight to the point –– and better yet, get to it in the subject! “If [your subject line] can be your entire email, do it,” James Hamblin, M.D., preventative health physician and senior editor at The Atlantic, says in an episode of the video series “If Our Bodies Could Talk.” Also, remember to re-read before hitting send to see if you’re using any other jargon that could be clouding your message.

Author(s)

  • Rebecca Muller

    Senior Editor and Community Manager

    Thrive

    Rebecca Muller Feintuch is the Senior Editor and Community Manager at Thrive. Her previous work experience includes roles in editorial and digital journalism. Rebecca is passionate about storytelling, creating meaningful connections, and prioritizing mental health and self-care. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.