11 classic email lines that sound insincere and what to use instead

Lowering the defenses of a stranger jaded by too many encounters with slick-sounding sales calls is tough, and falling back on overused email phrases is just so easy.

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My job requires me to send oodles of email: cold emails, follow up emails, emails with reports attached… every kind of email you could imagine. I cringe at how cheesy and insincere they’re starting to look. It’s difficult to be original, authentic and cordial in an email. Lowering the defenses of a stranger jaded by too many encounters with slick-sounding sales calls is tough, and falling back on overused email phrases is just so easy. Here are 11 insincere sounding lines I’m trying to eliminate from my emails — and why I’m making the cut.

1. “Hope you are well.”

With this line, I want to express that I care, but it comes across like I’m forcing a relationship. I show more respect for my recipient’s time by making my request quickly instead of padding my email with this phrase.

2. “Can I pick your brain? “

This line says I need your advice but I am nervous to ask for it. Anyone receiving this email knows I want their expertise for free; no sense pretending otherwise. I’ll leave out the platitude and come right out and ask for it.

3. “Just checking in.”

Obviously, I’m checking in, because I sent you this email. I want your attention and feel like you’re taking too long to give it to me. I’m just going to ask straight up for what I want.

4. “Attached, please find.”

I’ve use this phrase for so many years that it’s automatic — which means it’s outdated and I need to stop. Also, it’s unnecessarily polite and formal. I’ve started using, “I’ve attached the report to this message.”

5. “Wanted to touch base.”

Unless I’m recapping the company softball game, I’m not using this worn out phrase anymore. Instead, I’ll make my request directly; “May I call you tomorrow at 1:00 PM?”

6. “Sorry to bother you.”

I’m not sorry. If I were, I would not send you this email. What I’m really sorry about is that you haven’t given me what I need and now I feel like I have to send you another email. I’m going to omit this passive-aggressive phrase from my email vocabulary.

7. “Please don’t hesitate to contact me.”

I’m trying to be polite, but this is too polite. I sound stale and fake. I’ll stick with “please contact me” and include my contact information.

8. “Thanks in advance.”

Which means: I expect you to do this. This phrase should not be sent to anyone who isn’t my direct report and even then, it smacks of giving orders.

9. “I’m circling back.”

It’s the same as saying, “Sorry for the double email.” It conjures up pictures of vultures flying in circles over road kill. I’m going to stop hovering and put “Follow Up” in the subject line.

10. As per my last email.

You replied to my four-sentence email, yet didn’t answer the question I asked. Since you won’t stop breezing through my messages, I’ll just copy and paste the question from my original message, leave the churlish phrase out and resend it
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11. “Best” or “Regards.”

Really? Am I so busy I only have time to type one word in closing? Or I’m not smart enough to save a more thoughtful closing as part of my automatically embedded signature block? I’ll stick with thank you. It’s both sincere and polite.

Are you guilty of using any of these phrases? They’re so common because we’re asking for something and want to be polite, but the most respectful thing we can do is not waste our recipient’s time and rethink our vocabulary.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.