Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This is an unfriendly reminder.

I took a business writing class at work -- a nice melding of my personal and professional interests, I might say. One of the topics we covered was cutting out "deadwood," or unnecessary words. In case you haven't noticed, this is a gargantuan problem in corporate email. I could write a thesis about this, but time is short, so let me just mention my two biggest pet-peeve email phrases:

Feel free (or do not hesitate) to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Never once in the history of correspondence has this phrase compelled anyone to do anything they weren't going to do anyway. And if you're going to mention both questions and concerns, why stop there? What about suggestions? Or issues? I have issues!

This is a friendly reminder.
As opposed to an unfriendly reminder? You're telling me again to do something because I didn't do it the first time you asked me. Seems pretty unfriendly to me.

LB Readers, what email phrases annoy you?


  1. My pet peeve e-mail lines are:
    "hope this helps" and "I am reaching out to you."

  2. My pet peeve is "think before printing this" or some variation of that phrase. We already know that printing wastes paper. I don't think that reminder does anything but add extra text to an otherwise long email.


    any email or voicemail that says "call me" without any background. Give me a reason or I'm not calling.

  3. I hate the phrase "To make a long story short" because that person will undoubtedly go on for a good 15 minutes.

  4. Forwarded emails that only say "FYI" and expect you to read the thread of 45 emails below to figure out what is going on.

  5. Greg - YES, the FYI thing is one of my pet peeves, too. When someone does that, instead of writing, FYI, he should just say "there's a problem here but I don't want to take any time to explain it or fix it, I don't want to do any work at all, really, but I want to cover my ass by 'informing' you."

  6. You know, it is funny that in small business culture I don't have as many pet peeves regarding email correspondence. My office is only 5 people. And don't get me wrong, I have hundreds of emails daily that come through my inbox regarding projects. But I don't get copied uncessarially (usually) on emails unless they are worth reading. I imagine in corporate culture (of which I have never really been part) it must be horrid the number of emails that come through your inbox.