After one of your coworkers asks you to complete a task ASAP for the umpteenth time, you send them an email asking that, going forward, they give you at least three days’ advance notice for things of that nature.
On the surface, going forward seems like the perfect phrase to drop in order to convey your point in a nice way. It looks toward the future, rather than being stuck on the past; and it introduces a specific fix for an issue, rather than focusing too much on the issue itself.
But if you’ve ever had someone send you a going forward email, you might not find it so nice. As digital teamwork expert Erica Dhawan explained for CNBC Make It, going forward is essentially a thinly veiled way of saying “Do not ever do that again.” Though it’s not as blatantly aggressive, whoever’s on the receiving end is almost definitely savvy enough to realize that you’re unhappy with them—and that type of passive aggression might hurt your working relationship more than being direct.
So what should you write in lieu of going forward? Maybe nothing at all. Instead, it might be best to set up an in-person meeting, or at least a video chat. “When it comes to behavior changes that need to happen, don't do it over email. Asking change of someone involves emotions, which are always better handled in person,” business speaker Scott Mautz wrote for Inc.
For other ways to up your email game, here are 36 helpful tips.
[h/t CNBC Make It]