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Stop Using These Words In Your Emails!

Do you know how you sound in emails?

Without the benefit of being able to hear people’s vocal inflections or see their faces, it can be challenging to interpret how the person on the other end of an email is feeling. Emoticons and exclamation points can only take you so far (especially in a business email), and in fact, sometimes formal business language can start to sound, well, negative without context.

Wall Street Journal article on enigmatic email tells the story of a consultant who sent a detailed project plan to her client by email and received only a one-word response: “Noted."

She feared he was angry or disappointed, when in fact, he was thrilled to be able to clear the issue from his inbox with so little effort.

So how can you ensure you get your message across without seeming negative?

Accentuate the positive.

Overall, the word choices you make add up to the tone of your communications. And when you consistently choose negative words and phrases, your emails will sound terse, condescending, or angry.

Negativity is never good and always sends out negative vibes. Even if you feel negative about a situation, you can still make an effort to turn your emails into more positive messages — which usually get better responses.

Words like cannot, damage, do not, error, fail, impossible, little value, loss, mistake, not, problem, refuse, stop, unable to, unfortunately, escalation, urgent, never, inability and unsound all have a strong negative connotation.

Take this sentence for example:

Unfortunately, it looks impossible to finish the project on time because of the problems some people are causing with submitting their work late.

That’s a lot of negative words for one sentence. But you could easily convey the same information in a more positive way, like this:

Can everyone please turn in their portion of the project by Thursday so that we can complete the work on time and hit the deadline?

As you can see, it’s all about the words you choose that conveys your tone. If the boss in the Wall Street Journal example above had even responded with, “Thank you!” instead of “Noted,” his employee probably would not have worried whether she had done a good job.

Try to phrase your message using more positive terms like benefit, it is best to, issue, matter, progress, success and valuable.

Dos and Don’ts

An easy way to fall into the negativity trap is to start listing out things people shouldn’t do. Don’t leave uneaten food in the office refrigerator. Don’t be late to the meeting. Even saying “don’t forget” is more negative than saying “remember.”

Instead of telling others what not to do, try telling them what they should do instead. Please take your lunches home at the end of the day. Please arrive for the meeting five minutes early.

People are much more likely to comply with a positive request than a negative complaint on their behavior.

When in doubt, spell it out.

If you find that people frequently misinterpret your emails, you might need to be more explicit. There’s no harm in actually saying how you feel when communicating with colleagues, especially those with whom you have a good relationship.

For example, rather than using terse, negative language in an email about project scheduling because you’re sick of the software you have to use to schedule meetings, you might come out and say, “This scheduling system is frustrating to me, but it looks like we can meet on Friday…”

That way, the recipient can understand that you’re feeling negative about something other than him.

Source: Bernard Marr, Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Leading Business and Data Expert; 
December 8th, 2014



Easy Ways to Build Great Habits

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” This statement penned by author Jim Ryun speaks to how you can find long-term success in both your professional and personal life. It takes time to make something a habit, and it certainly is a difficult thing to do. In the spirit of making resolutions for the New Year, we give you a few suggestions to help you make a habit out of your desired behaviors.

  • Make time to do it. As obvious as this idea may seem, so many people neglect to take this important first step. For example, if you plan to make exercise a part of your daily routine, you need to set aside a specific time to do that. Look realistically at your schedule and lifestyle to set yourself up for success. Someone who has the most energy and motivation at the beginning of the day would do well to carve out the first 15-30 minutes of the morning for a workout. Establishing the time beforehand will encourage you to stick to your goal and encourage you to continue.
  • Connect habits you already have to new habits you’d like to adopt. If your exercise goal is to spend 20 minutes on the treadmill once a day, then incorporate that into something you already do every day. If you always sit down to watch the 5:00 news every night, then spend that time on the treadmill in front of the television instead of sitting on the couch. Or if you always check your email at a certain time, work your exercise into, before, or after it. You’ll have a better chance at sticking to your desired behavior this way.
  • Make it as convenient for yourself as possible. If you want to exercise first thing in the morning before work, set out your clothes and equipment, fill your water bottle, and cue up your music the night before so you can roll out of bed and get right to it. You’ll have less of an excuse to skip it if it’s easy and convenient to accomplish.
  • Keep a calendar to chart your progress and reward yourself for meeting milestones. In order to stay motivated, you need to set goals and keep track of your progress. Set some benchmarks ahead of time and record them on a calendar, either digitally or on paper. Every time you reach a milestone, reward yourself in a way that will encourage you to keep going. Make the reward enjoyable and guilt-free so that you continue working toward your next benchmark and reward.

When developing good habits, do everything you can to set yourself up for success. Plan ahead, be realistic about your lifestyle, and track your progress. What great habits would you like to build in 2015? Which of our suggestions will be the most helpful to you? Please share your ideas in our comments section!

Source: DSF – Direct Selling Education Foundation, January 8, 2015



I once wanted to be a teacher. In fact, until I was about 23 years old, I thought that was going to be my future. Then I taught, and found it wasn’t for me. Not the teaching part, the public education administration part. It only took one example to show me public education was fundamentally broken.

The local museum in town had this great exhibit in for only two weeks, by chance my class was studying the same thing, what luck, I thought to myself, the kids will love this! I went to my principal and told her I wanted to take the kids to museum instead our annual trip to the zoo. “Can’t do that”, she said, “had to be approved a year in advance, but you can do it next year”. “It won’t be here next year, it’s a traveling exhibit, it’s only here this year.”, I explained. “Sorry, won’t happen”, she replied. “What if I got parents to do this after school, or on a weekend, and it wouldn’t cost anything?”, I pleaded. “Nope, can’t let you do it, don’t waste your energy on this”, she could see my rising frustration on something that made no sense.

So, we went to the zoo. The same zoo the kids went to every year, for the same tour, same learning, same cage animals, not even trying to get out.

The writing was on the wall for me, right then and there. These people didn’t really care about educating kids. They cared about following process and procedure. Even if it didn’t make sense. My dream of being an educator needed an adjustment.

My dream didn’t die, I just found a new way to scratch that itch. So many people believe if they didn’t reach their dream, that it dies. I think that’s just an easy way to getting out of doing the hard work. The hard work isn’t all that you put into reaching your dream. That is actually work you enjoy, you’re chasing your dream. The hard work starts when you can’t reach your dream, or you decide the dream you had is no longer the dream you want. The hard work starts the moment you adjust your dream to something else.

I truly believe people should chase their dreams for as long as they’re appropriate. Awesome, you want to play football in the NFL, that’s great! You’re now 38 years old and never made a roster, time to make an adjustment! How about working in some capacity in the NFL? Coaching? Marketing?

We give people a false sense that it’s alright to chase your dreams forever. We even give them examples of some 90 year old lady who ran her first marathon, or something like that. We encourage it. Never do we feel it’s appropriate to tell someone, “Hey, maybe it’s time to think about something else”. Maybe it’s time to adjust your dream. It’s okay. You won’t shrivel up and die. It’s just a dream, they’re adjustable.

Source: Sacket, Tim - (December 17, 2014)