When you think about using a positive tone in your emails, consider that the tone starts with the subject line. Your subject sets the mood for your message.
Compare the moods expressed in each of these paired subjects:
- New Employee Announcement
- Welcome Juanita Gomez to Property!
- Meeting Follow-Up
- Follow-Up on Our Productive Meeting
- Confirming Reservation 68924
- Welcome to the Cambridge Inn
In each pair the second subject communicates more positively and sets the tone for the rest of the message.
When you receive an email with a subject that communicates negatively, in your reply feel free to change the subject to change the tone, as these examples do:
- Schedule Confusion
- Re: Schedule Clarification
- Problems With the Council Budget
- Re: Thank You for the Budget Feedback
When you make a change like those above, the thread that continues has a positive focus rather than a focus on confusion and problems.
You can also change the subject to express enthusiasm. To my delight, someone changed the subject when she replied to me recently. My original subject was:
- Requesting Your Review of "Business Writing With Heart"
She changed the subject when she replied after reading the proof copy of the book:
- What a book!
You can communicate enthusiasm just by adding a word or phrase to the original subject when you reply:
- Program Updates
- Re: Program Updates--Outstanding!
- Site Visit Report
- Re: Site Visit Report--Great work!
The positive tone of your messages can help you solve problems, motivate employees, sell ideas, and build excellent work relationships. Remember to set the tone from the beginning, with a subject that communicates positively.
You can learn more about communicating positively in my new book, Business Writing With Heart: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time. Get the first chapter free here.
I welcome your thoughts on warming up the tone in emails.