Um, but what else are we supposed to say?
Starting an email is tricky.
You don’t wanna come off as rude and jump straight in there without a greeting, but by the same stroke, you’ve a million other things on your to-do list so you need to make things snappy.
To that end then it’s likely that you’ll opt for the cursory “I hope you’re well” which is pretty much office-speak for ‘Look, I’m busy and I wanna be nice but I don’t really know what other way to start an email.’
Sadly though, according to a New York Magazine article it’s really time that this much-used phrase dies a death. In fact, the writer, Dayna Evans goes on to call it “a scourge on email correspondence.” #Harsh.
But, what’s so bad about it? Surely you can’t go wrong by simply wishing your correspondent well, right?
Wrong, we’re afraid, as Evans explains that the phrase comes off just a smidgen insincere, dubbing it “a hollow greeting that has come to mean nothing.”
“The expression has rendered itself so benign in its overuse,” she adds, “that our brains are now programmed to ignore it, skipping directly to the point of the email, which, if the text ‘I hope you’re well’ is any indication, is probably a request for a favour.”
Thankfully Evans does offer some alternatives. As she explains, you have two options for kicking of your email with confidence:
“Either say nothing at all and jump right into the subject of your email, or find something — literally anything — to prove that you are not a robot built for the mundane task of churning out rote correspondence.”
Even using a stereotypically Irish tactic and talking about the weather can be a good introduction, with Evans explaining that she’ll often comment on how hot it is outside before getting into the body of her message.
If all else fails though, and you really can’t think of something nice to say, just go forth and add an exclamation mark to your initial greeting. “It’s nearly as hollow as ‘I hope you’re well,” Evans writes. “But it takes up less than half the space.” Got it.
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