How Covid-19 is changing the language in emails

“Tilman, I hope you are well. Could you give me an update on that contract?”

Email courtesies have gotten trickier in the time of #covid19. We’re all treading a fine line between professional and personal, between enthusiastic and sympathetic.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the very way we’re communicating is changing because of this pandemic. We’re less apt to be flippantly cheerful and more likely to check in with the recipient in earnest language before launching into the real reason for reaching out.

I’ve also noticed a lot of people changing their email sign-offs. In a time of global chaos, “Best regards” doesn’t sound that meaningful anymore. Instead, people are signing off with more sincere words like, “I wish you well!”

For those who dislike small talk, this might seem like a beneficial shift in communication. But it can also inspire a bit of anxiety. If you need to get work done but aren’t entirely sure how the person on the other end of the line is fairing, it can be hard to know exactly what to say.

Go for straightforward sincerity, is my advice. In fact, this is not bad advice beyond a pandemic! Perhaps this time will change the way we all communicate for the better.

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