Unless you've discovered some alternate technology-free dimension, email is probably an inescapable part of your daily life. And not to overstate the obvious, but communicating via email is very different than doing so over the phone or face-to-face. It forces us to rely on mechanical language, jargon, and trite phrases to get our point across without having the tone of the message go misinterpreted. The trouble is, even the most innocuous-seeming words can be perceived as seriously passive aggressive. Odds are you're all too familiar with them.
To figure out specifically what people hate to see most in their inbox, the folks at Adobe surveyed over 1,000 white-collar workers in the United States and identified the nine common phrases that people find most frustrating and annoying in emails.
Spoiler alert: "please advise" haters are going to feel vindicated.
Adobe's fourth annual consumer email survey asked people to pick which overused and vaguely passive aggressive phrases they hate the most, and many of them agreed on the same ones. In fact, a whopping 25% of respondents chose the irksome "not sure if you saw my last email" as the most obnoxious phrase that people use in work emails. Here are the nine most commonly hated phrases according to the survey, listed from least to most despised.
9. "Re-attaching for convenience" (6%)
8. "As discussed" (6%)
7. "As previously stated" (9%)
6. "Please advise" (9%)
5. "Sorry for the double email" (10%)
4. "Any update on this?" (11%)
3. "Per our conversation" (11%)
2. "Per my last email" (13%)
1. "Not sure if you saw my last email" (25%)
Besides determining which phrases you should try to avoid, the survey also found that people are actually using email more than ever before. They found a 17% increase in the number of hours people check their personal accounts every day, and that people check work email 3.1 hours, on average, every single day.
Obviously, it's tough to find the right language to use when you're busy and trying to reach inbox zero, but maybe lay off the unintentionally passive aggressive missives and you may make some more friends in the office.
h/t Fast Company