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English 101: The Wrong Email Styling Impressions

email language english communication

Sometimes, you can tell the difference from how people write things down or draft the content of their emails and then send it out to others. Image source: Reddit

Coming back from Kabul, I have been involved in a large project recently and things been moving slow. This is partly due to the inefficiency of the project coordinator at the client’s side and other technical issues. So, the client replaced the old coordinator with someone new and this new guy did not waste any time in bashing us back for the delays of the project.

Things that have been delivered and signed off a long time was deemed as not delivered by this new guy. In many places, there were more fictions than facts – to an extent that he called the team as not being professional.

Clearly someone was pushing the blame on others in order to save their own skin.

When I read the email, the “lawyer” in me became restless and wanted to bash him back with the “kaw-kaw” reply. We had all the facts and all the numbers to prove that the blame by the new guy was really uncalled for. We were interested in finding the solution and were not looking at the problem alone.

But it was not the case with this guy. Unfortunately at my end, I was not the project coordinator, so the task of responding went to someone else. And that someone being a marketing person drafted “more diplomatic” reply to the new guy at the client’s end.

In summary, the response was mild – certainly not enough to dose off the flaming email. But that is the standard style of a marketing person which was understandable. Consider the following different writing styles:-

Original email from us:-

Should there be any further delay, we have decided to withdraw the team from the site temporarily and provide remote support during the interim period and once outstanding issue at end has been solved, we will redeploy the support staff.

The flamming response from the new guy (note the capitalised words):-

As you know the system is NOT implemented in the LIVE environment till today and UAT is NOT signed off, in this situation do you like to violate the contract and take your staff back? That is NOT accepted from any “Professional Business Organization”.

The response from marketing person (I guess it was done in a hurry):-

I think your statement is too much. Please revise it. We are not pulling off people like that. What we were saying is that if you do not know when the network, server will be completed might as well you complete first. Our staff onsite is not being utilized in full. It will incur cost to both sides. Once you have complete, and then we will come and do the conversion for you.

BUT if I had the chance, I probably would have worded as follows:-

We assure you that we have carried out all activities professionally at all times as how has been done for all projects in over 80++ countries. Shortcomings on the implementation (mostly coming from your department) has been highlighted to your organisation much earlier (please refer to the attached mails for reference) but nothing was done.

If nothing being done on site from your end, there is no point having our staff idle on the site as well. We might as well we pull back the resources first and redeploy later.

HOWEVER, we believe that you have sent out the email without getting all your facts rights. For your benefit (again), we will layout the full facts for your digestion. If you had read our email earlier properly (and carefully), you would have realised that we used words like “further delay”, “temporarily” and “redeploy”. We guess that you never read the email properly before you started to accuse us of being unprofessional. (I might have added “That reflected badly of you and your organisation. We wonder who is being unprofessional here”).

But then, if I have done that, probably it would have aggravated the situation. So, it was good that someone else replied instead of me. Blame the lawyer in me.

Also read:-

Things to watch out for when emailing

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