We often think we are being helpful or polite, but sometimes it comes across as rude and not thoughtful at all to the recipient. Let's check out some helpful tips to get our emails expressing exactly how collaborative we truly are.
When writing an email to a business contact, there are things that seem polite but, in fact, are rude to the recipient.
For instance, if you need to cancel an appointment suddenly or cannot make a requested meeting without offering any negotiation as to another time, common expressions used a lot in business English to end the message are:
Thanks for your understanding/comprehension.
Thanks for your understanding in advance
Or you are requesting help for something without having discussed this with the person:
Thanks in advance for your help
These expressions are actually quite rude. Don't use them.
Why those expressions are rude
With the first two expressions, the person reading the message has not had a chance to have an opinion or completely understand the message yet, nor make any attempt to negotiate a new time or day.
The second expression assumes that the person will help without taking into consideration the person's time or effort needed.
These expressions end the conversation on the writer's part and force the recipient to end on her part as well. There is nothing more to be said about the conversation. That is not fair to the recipient, the writer is dictating what is to be felt and understood.
Better to just leave that out until the person has a chance to respond about understanding the person's need to cancel.
What you can write instead
When canceling something or not agreeing to something someone has requested:
My apologies for causing any inconvenience.
I hope we can reschedule for another time.
I am available at X time instead.
Let's work this out.
When requesting help:
Would you be willing to help me with this?
I would so appreciate it if you could help me.
Let me know what works for you.
Thank you for any help you can offer.
All these expressions give the recipient a chance to respond. These thoughtful phrases let them think of how they feel about what you've said and let them think about what action they can take next.
It's all in the spirit of teamwork and collaboration.
Jackie Donaldson is the owner and director of Amidon Studios Language Studies. She started Amidon Studios in 2017 after managing a language institute in Lima, Peru for six years. She's taught students from all over the world while living in Peru, Mexico, and the U.S. When she's not working or studying, you'll find her gardening, playing with her cat Frankie, swimming, baking, and exploring the globe.