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How To Sound Confident In Work Emails

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On the JJ Barnes Blog, as someone who has always struggled with self esteem but wants to succeed in business, I check out top tips for how to sound confident in work emails.

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Let’s face it, work emails can be a battlefield. Between juggling deadlines, navigating complex projects, and oh yeah, the pressure to appear competent and professional, it’s easy to feel your confidence shrink to the size of a “reply all” nightmare.

I can personally relate. For years, self-doubt haunted my inbox. Every email felt like a tightrope walk – one wrong word and my credibility would come crashing down. But guess what? I wasn’t destined to be a prisoner of my own “imposter syndrome” and I’ve learned some powerful tricks that can transform your written communication from timid to terrific. I no longer stare at my ever full inbox with fear, but see it as an opportunity. I know I do a good job, I know I work hard, and I know how to communicate that when I talk to clients.

So, if you, like me, ever found yourself staring at a blank email feeling like a wide-eyed intern instead of the capable professional you are, fear not! This post is for you. I’ll be diving into actionable tips that will help you craft clear, confident emails that get results – all without sacrificing your authenticity. Let’s conquer that inbox and show the world the amazing professional you truly are!

To help me out out, Joe D. from FATJOE sent over a guide to crafting assertive work emails with the top errors to avoid because they undermine your confident image. 

How To Sound Confident In Work Emails

Overusing Softening Phrases

Common Mistake: Starting emails with phrases like “I’m just writing to…” or “I just wanted…” These words can undermine the importance of your message, and make it seem like you’re unsure of your input.

Suggestion: Be direct with your language. Start with “I’m writing to follow up on…” or ‘’I’m writing to ask/check…’’.

Top Tips For Using Direct Language

Be Clear About Your Purpose: Before hitting “compose,” take a moment to define your email’s objective. Are you requesting information, proposing an idea, or following up on a task? Knowing your purpose allows you to structure your email and choose assertive language that drives action.

Replace Softness with Strength: Instead of “just wondering,” state your question directly: “I’d like to confirm…” Similarly, swap “maybe we could” for “I propose we…” This shift in tone demonstrates initiative and ownership.

Focus on Action: Opt for action verbs that leave no room for ambiguity. Instead of “I was hoping you could send…,” use “Please send…” This shift clarifies expectations and keeps the email moving forward.

Express Gratitude with Confidence: Appreciation is essential, but avoid phrases like “Thanks in advance.” Instead, express your gratitude in a way that conveys your confidence in the recipient: “Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

Embrace Ownership: Use phrases that demonstrate your confidence: “I recommend…” or “I believe…” This shows you’ve thought through your message and are ready to move forward.

Proofread for Softness: Before hitting send, give your email a final review. Look for those sneaky soft phrases that might have slipped in and replace them with stronger alternatives.

Apologising Unnecessarily

Common Mistake: Saying sorry when no mistake has been made. Phrases like “Sorry to bother you” or “Sorry for asking” can imply that you feel unworthy of the recipient’s time.

Suggestion: Only apologise when it’s warranted. If you need something, be straightforward and respectful. Use phrases such as, “Thank you for your time” or “I appreciate your assistance with…”. These let the other person know you appreciate their help and time, without making you sound like you lack confidence.

Top Tips To Avoid Apologising Unnecassarily

Know Your Worth: Remember, you deserve to be in that inbox! You bring value, and your requests and ideas are important. Acknowledge your contributions and approach your emails with that mindset.

Frame Requests as Assertions: Instead of “I’m sorry to bother you, but could you…?” , reframe your request as a clear statement: “I’d appreciate it if you could…” This direct approach shows respect for their time while confidently stating your need.

Express Gratitude with Strength: Appreciation is key, but ditch phrases like “Sorry for the inconvenience, but…” Instead, try “Thank you for your understanding as I…” This conveys gratitude without diminishing your request.

Focus on Ownership: Use phrases that demonstrate you’re taking charge: “I’d like to request…” or “I recommend we…” This shows initiative and avoids the apologetic undertone of phrases like “Would it be possible…?”

Highlight Value, Not Burden: Instead of “Sorry this might be a lot, but…” focus on the value your request brings. Try “This information will be crucial for…” This shift in focus positions your request as a necessary step, not an inconvenience.

Proofread for Apologies: Before hitting send, give your email a final scan. Look for those sneaky “sorrys” that might have snuck in and replace them with more confident alternatives.

Hedging With Uncertain Language

Common Mistake: Using phrases like “I think” or “It might be” too frequently can make you seem like you don’t actually know what you’re talking about.

Suggestion: Present your ideas confidently. If you’re making a recommendation, say, ‘’I suggest” or ‘’I recommend.’’ Be bold! 

Top Tips For Using Certain Language

Be Clear About Your Purpose: Before hitting “compose,” take a moment to define your objective. Are you requesting information, proposing an idea, or following up on a task? Knowing your purpose allows you to structure your email and choose assertive language that drives action.

Replace Uncertainty with Authority: Instead of “I think we should…” state your idea confidently: “We should consider…” This shift in tone positions you as a thought leader and encourages action.

Speak in Facts, Not Possibilities: Replace “maybe” with “based on…” or “considering…” These phrases sound more grounded and confident than possibilities.

Express Confidence in Your Abilities: Ditch “I’ll try my best” for “I can assure you…” or “I’m confident that…” This demonstrates initiative and ownership of your work.

Embrace Ownership with “I”: Statements like “It would be great if…” lack conviction. Replace them with “I would appreciate it if…” This assertive approach conveys ownership and clarity.

Use Active Voice for Stronger Impact: The passive voice can sound wishy-washy. Instead of “The report could be finished by tomorrow,” write “I will finish the report by tomorrow.” This active voice construction strengthens your message.

Proofread for Uncertainty: Before sending, do a final review. Look for hidden hesitations and replace them with confident alternatives.

Undermining Your Requests

Common Mistake: Phrasing requests as if you expect them to be declined. For example, “You probably won’t have time for this but…” makes it easy for the recipient to say no.

Suggestion: Be clear and assertive when asking for something. Use positive and confident phrases like “Could you please” or “I would appreciate your help with…”. The people you’re speaking to are (presumably) all adults; they can say no if it’s really required. 

Top Tips For Using Positive Phrases

Focus on the Positive: Instead of “I’m not sure if this is the right time, but…” start with a positive statement: “Following up on our discussion…” This sets a constructive tone and gets the recipient engaged.

Frame Requests as Opportunities: Shift from “I need you to…” to “This information will be crucial for…” Highlighting the value your request brings positions it as a necessary step, not an inconvenience.

Embrace “We” Language: “We need to finalize the proposal” sounds more collaborative than “I need you to finish the proposal.” This fosters a sense of shared responsibility and encourages teamwork.

Express Confidence in Others: Instead of “Do you think you could…?” , try “I’m confident you can handle this by…” This shows trust in their abilities and motivates them to deliver.

Use Positive Reinforcement: Phrases like “Thank you in advance for your help” can come across as presumptuous. Opt for “I appreciate your support in getting this done.” This acknowledges their future contribution without assuming it.

Highlight Achievements and Solutions: Instead of focusing solely on problems, showcase successes and propose solutions. “While we faced a delay, I’ve already started on…” demonstrates initiative and a problem-solving mindset.

End on a Positive Note: Conclude your email with a forward-looking statement: “I look forward to hearing from you soon” or “Let’s discuss this further on Monday.” This keeps the conversation moving and fosters a positive working relationship.

Closing Weakly

Common Mistake: Ending your email with phrases like “Just let me know” or “Whatever you think” sounds wishy-washy.

Suggestion: Finish with clear and decisive language, such as “I look forward to your feedback” or “I would appreciate your response by [date].”

Top Tips For A Strong Closing

Match the Tone: Consider the overall tone of your email. For a formal request, a classic closing like “Sincerely” or “Regards” is appropriate. If your email is more collaborative, a friendly closing like “Best regards” or “Thanks” works well.

Action Calls and Next Steps: If your email requires a response or action from the recipient, incorporate a clear call to action in your closing. For example, “Please let me know if you have any questions” or “I look forward to your feedback by Friday.”

Availability and Proactiveness: Subtly indicate your availability for further communication. Phrases like “Please don’t hesitate to reach out” or “I’m happy to discuss this further” show openness and a willingness to collaborate.

Confidence and Ownership: Project confidence in your closing. Instead of “Hope this works for you,” opt for “I’m confident this approach will be successful.” This showcases your expertise and initiative.


Don’t say ‘’I’m no expert but…’’ or ask too many questions in one email. Use active rather than passive voice, and don’t water down your message. With the right best practices and etiquette, you can inspire confidence in your work capabilities.

-Joe D. from FATJOE

FATJOE was founded in 2012 and has become one of the world’s largest providers of outsourced link-building, digital PR, SEO services, content creation and design, and video services. They’re changing the game with their productized link-building and SEO services –  helping SEOs, marketers, and agencies to scale and thrive.


Mastering the art of confident work emails isn’t about faking it till you make it. It’s about replacing self-doubt with clear communication strategies. By ditching the soft phrases, uncertain language, and unnecessary apologies, you’ll craft emails that project professionalism and get results.

Remember, clear and confident communication is a superpower in the workplace. So, put these tips into practice, and watch your inbox transform from a battlefield into a launchpad for your success.

Now get out there and conquer those emails with confidence!

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