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  • Writer's picturePeter Yawitz

How can I be more specific without being pushy?

“I would welcome the opportunity to become acquainted.” “Take a look at the attached when you get a chance.” “Here are five potential alternative solutions.” “FYI; please advise at your earliest convenience.”

You’ve probably read those sentences in emails, or may have written sentences like those yourself. They’re certainly grammatically correct and very polite. The problem is that a high-level, busy manager may read them and think: “OK, so what exactly are you asking me to do?”

Since many business people worry about coming across too strong and pushy, their messages tend to be too tempered and unspecific.

Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Before you write an email or go into a meeting, figure out what your best-case actionable objective is. Do you want them to understand how to use a system? Persuade someone to buy a bond? Show why it’s great to work here?

  2. Think of what your audience is looking for: Do they need to be more efficient? Are they looking to increase profitability? Enhance their prestige?

  3. Craft a message that is very specific, says what you want, and shows how it can benefit your audience.

So, let’s look improve those wishy-washy sentences. How about:

“I would like to set up a meeting so I can give you some details about how our firm has helped people like you achieve their financial goals.” “The attached study shows that we can beat the competition by optimizing the number of down feathers per standard size pillow.” “I recommend that we upgrade our system to the more cost-efficient EZ-CHEW platform early next year.” “I need your approval by Monday for me to attend a very relevant two-day conference on new trends in finger-painting technique.”

Thanks, and I welcome the opportunity to chat at your earliest convenience.

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