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Thursday, June 20, 2024

‘Lets touch base’ (+ 6 other phrases to NEVER say in emails)


Let’s start with a doozy:

“Let’s touch base.”

 

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Alternates:

“Let’s connect.”

“We should chat soon.”

Why it sucks:

Here’s a great system to see if you should use “Let’s touch base” in an email:

Are you:

  • an astronaut piloting your ship to a planetary surface?
  • a bass player trying to convince a band to let you play with them?
  • a baseball team manager giving directions to your team?

If no to those, do not use it. Also, consider relaying this information by other means besides email.

Your email copy should be clear. Nothing is less clear than the phrase, “Let’s touch base.” It’s vague, jargon-y, and avoids actual action (aka everything good copy isn’t). Not to mention the fact that it’s overused to death.

Do this instead:

Get straight to the point with your copy and propose how you want to connect. This will trim the fat. You’ll also come across as engaged and ready to take action.

EXAMPLE: “Let’s plan a 30-minute meeting tomorrow in my office at 2:00 pm ET.”

“I’ll get straight to the point.”

 

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Alternate:

“I’ll make this quick.”

“The long short of it is …”

Why it sucks:

Nothing makes me want to hurl my computer out my home office window faster than, “I’ll get straight to the point.”

IF YOU WANT TO GET STRAIGHT TO THE POINT WHY DON’T YOU JUST DO IT THEN?

This is a great example of “filler language” — the words and phrases that don’t serve any purpose besides filling in your sentence. It’s superfluous and only exists to waste your time and the time of whomever you’re emailing.

Do this instead:

Just … get straight to the point. Start talking about whatever it is you want to address with your email recipient. No BS. No unnecessary build up. (Pro tip: read your email on your phone to check its length. You’ll see the “sparse” 3 sentences on your desktop are just enough info on your iPhone.)

Here’s an old motivational poster to help you remember:

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“I hope this email finds you well.”

 

Alternates:

“I hope all is well!”

“Happy Monday/Tuesday/Friday/Whatever!”

Why it sucks:

While well-intentioned, the statement is emptier than my checking account after a Steam Summer Sale.

It’s like saying “Have a good day” whenever you say goodbye, or promising your high school sweetheart that you’ll be together 4ever.

(Or was that just me…)

Plus it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. An email can’t “find you well,” any more than the person sending you the email can find you well in that moment.

Do this instead:

Skip the ineffectual sentiments and get to what you wanted to talk about.

If you really want to open up with something nice, though, bring up a mutual connection if you’re speaking to a cold contact. If it’s someone you already know, bring up something light that’s come up in the past.

EXAMPLE:

“Hey Tony, Would you like to meet for coffee this week to discuss a work opportunity? I’m also a University of Iowa graduate (class of 2015) and found your name on our alumni site.”

Or

“Hey Tony, I finally checked out the highlights to the game we talked about and it was awesome!”

“Is that fine?”

Alternates:

“Are you okay with that?”

“Can we do that?”

Why it sucks:

This phrase most often comes at the end of a request or a proposal — and while you think it makes you sound polite it actually sounds needier.

As such, you drain your message of the confidence and assertiveness you want to convey.

Do this instead:

Don’t seek validation. End with a strong call-to-action that they direct any issues they might have to you.

EXAMPLE: “If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me.”



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