Email Writing

What is the Communication Style of your Emails?

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 “I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – A quote by Maya Angelou.

Have you ever thought about how your reader feels when he or she reads your email?


Your email will demonstrate your communication style and fall into one of four patterns.

A Passive writer. Does not directly come out and say what the writer means. Writer uses a lot of pleases, try, maybe, and too many thank you. The emotion is unsure, tentative and fearful.


An Aggressive writer. Makes statements as facts, overuse of I, threatens, belittles the person, uses sarcasm, etc. Comes across as angry, disgusted and negative.

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An Assertive writer. Is more direct and to the point. Writer states his/her opinion. Cares about the recipient’s thoughts. Ask questions to clarify facts. Is collaborative and looks for a win-win. Emotion is confident, analytical and positive.

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A Passive Aggressive writer. Starts with sugar coating, positive points, lots of appreciation or pleases. Then, comes to strong statements or threats if the work is not done what will be the consequence. Emotion conveyed is confusion and frustration.

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Let’s see how Passive, Aggressive and Assertive people communicate:

Word Choice

· Tactful

· Cautious

· Reserved

· Diplomatic

· Enthusiastic

· Persuasive

· Charming

• Decisive

• Goal-oriented

• Inquisitive

• Sometimes blunt

Sentences beginning with I statementsLess use of I statementsFrequent use of I statementsOveruse of “I” statements and “You” statements.
Repeated words and fillersMany repeated words and fillers (um, ah, you know, etc.)No fillers are used.Very crisp and to the point. No fillers are used.
Duration of talk.LongAppropriate lengthVery short length. Too short.
Data is used.Less and sounds tentative with maybe, approximately, we will try, etc.Several important data points are used which add strength to message.Data points focused on bottom line.
Sentence lengthLongModerateShort
Words often used

·  Think about it

·  Take your time. Think it over.

·  Help you out; help me out

· Logical, step-by-step

·  Trust me

·  Guarantee

·  Promise

· Here are the facts

·  Proven

·  The data shows

·  No risk

·  I need…

· Asks questions to understand your need

· Paraphrase

· Explores both needs

·  Picture this.

· Win

· Results

· Lead the field

· Be the best

· Challenge

· Bottom line

· Benefits

· Fast, Now

· Immediate

· Today

·  New & unique

Ask yourself, is my email communication style Assertive?

Go to to assess the communication style of your emails

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