If you’re like me, in any given day you receive hundreds of emails from prospects, clients, and coworkers. After a while you may even start to notice the specific language that certain people use in their emails.
Some write exquisite emails. Punctuation, grammar, spelling; it’s all there. Their emails are clear in meaning and concise in words which is exactly how an email should be.
Then there are some who use email like a text message to their friends. Although concise their emails lack the polish that is to be expected from any professional. They read like a chatty teenager explaining the day.
I received one such email recently that really stuck out at me because of a statement that was used repeatedly to (not really) convey an apology.
The idiom “my bad” is meant to be a back handed apology. It’s like saying “I’m sorry” without actually apologizing.
I remember when in my first inside sales role I wrote an email that my Regional Director was copied on. I will never forget her response to my email. It was to me only but made a very clear statement. All she said was:
“Johnny you are eloquent and educated. Using ‘my bad‘ conveys neither of those things.”
To my embarrassment I remember almost replying with “my bad“. Not as a sarcastic apology but because that was simply the term I had grown accustomed to using in such situations.
Since then I have done my best to be conscious of using that term in a professional environment.
In no way does it contain any real message besides that you recognize you’ve made a mistake. In fact “my bad” may even imply that you don’t know what you did wrong or that you will never do it again. It is such a vague statement that any number of interpretations can be made.
If at all possible avoid using the term “my bad” and instead take the extra seconds and brain power to give a real response or apology when needed.
Even if it is an email to a coworker you are very close with, there is always the possibility that it will be forwarded to someone else that you would rather not see it.
By being more thorough in your explanation of an event or apology you will not only be more professional but will actually convey the message you originally intended.
What are your thoughts on using the term “my bad“? Is it OK to use? Does it bother you? Let me know by commenting below.
~ Johnny Bravo
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net