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111 Key Principles for Success

Principle 62 - Don't use "you" or "your"

"You" or "your" can sound accusatory, especially in an email.

Recently my boss kept writing "your SQL"1 when it wasn't my SQL, it was a coworker's.

The SQL had problems in it and I felt like I was being accused of making mistakes. He should have said "The SQL ..."

I often say the word "You" when I mean "I" or "People." I'm trying to break this habit but it's a work in progress.
  • "You should" ... and I mean "People should" or "Everyone should ..."
  • "You didn't send me the ...."

What if:
  • they did and you didn't see it.
  • they never got the email
  • someone else is working on it

If you say "You didn't reply to my email." you could be wrong.

Say "I didn't see the reply to my email."

I learned this lesson the hard way. I once sent this to someone and it turned out that they did reply a few days prior and I didn't see it. So saying "I didn't see ..." covers you and makes your point.

1. SQL is Structured Query Language, a tool to retrieve data from a database.

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