Managing an Inside Sales Team, I spend a lot of time helping my team perfect emails. Today, I want to share a tip I often encourage my team, peers and (even) my bosses to adopt: avoid using passive voice.
In my high school’s junior year English class, we got an assignment to write a 15 page paper. The teacher allowed us to use passive voice three times– in the entire paper. I also grew up with a lawyer for a father. In every assignment he edited, my papers got shorter and passive voice disappeared. Now, passive voice bothers me. I re-read most, and all important, emails to delete out any passive voice.
I find avoiding passive voice helps you:
- Clearly state who needs to do what and why
- Shorten your emails (and we all know how much people read if an email is tl;dr )
- Sound more professional and polished
I challenge you to take out the following (most common) passive voice words from your email for an entire day (for over-achievers, a week). Let me know if it helps.
Just seven words to eliminate from your emails:
Here are a few resources to help: