“Please let me know if you have any questions,” wrote I in an email I was drafting.
It has long been my signature email sign-off, but this time I was feeling a little reflective and reconsidered writing that line.
What did it really mean?
But try as I might I couldn’t quite put my finger on it; it made no sense. So I deleted it.
Then I re-read the e-mail.
Ugh. No, it didn’t seem right.
So I put it back in.
The thing is though, I couldn’t reconcile this fact: if the recipients had any questions I’m pretty sure they would have not hesitated hitting “Reply” and asking me those questions. Would having left that line out stopped the questions from coming?
Still, I added the line back in because it “sounded better”, and from then on just accepted that I’d never know and simply kept that line in without too much thought.
Then just today I came across this passage from the book Simply Said by Jay Sullivan:
When you write at the end of an email “Let me know if you have any questions,” you are writing that line for a certain tone. Clearly, the reader will let you know if she has any questions, regardless of whether you make that offer. You add that line because it seems like a pleasant, conversational way to end the message. You include it to set the right tone, just the way you start the message with some basic pleasantry like, “I hope all is well” or “Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond.” Because email can seem so abrupt, it’s important to make sure we soften the tone of our messages.
I now feel extremely validated.
Turns out I’m just naturally inclined to be a pleasant, courteous person.