How to: Be diplomatic in an email

02/25/2021

Overview

Do you have a sensitive or potentially difficult situation to address in an email? Or do you need to give some ‘bad news’ to a client or customer? Here are some tips and phrases that can help you produce a diplomatic tone.

1. Using ‘softening’ language and sentence starters:

• I’m afraid there is a problem with…
• We’re sorry but this deal/arrangement is not acceptable to us
• Unfortunately, we will not be renewing the contract with you
• We regret to advise/tell you that we no longer require your services
• It seems/appears that there has been some misunderstanding between us on this matter.

2. Using ‘distancing’ language (‘would/could/might’):

• We would like (/be happy) to discuss/negotiate/consider this matter further.
• With regard to your concerns I would appreciate your patience while we try to resolve this situation.
• We believe that we could offer our help/services/a solution to this problem.
• Your suggestion/offer might be workable/acceptable if we are able to agree one or two small changes.
• Could I suggest one or two alterations/changes to the proposal?

3. Using more ‘positive’ phrases and modifying adjectives:

• Your offer is not as generous as we hoped.
• I’m afraid we are not completely happy with this deal.
• I was a bit surprised by your reaction/response to this situation.
• We’re sorry but your comments regarding this situation are not quite correct.

Related resources

Grammar Check-up! – The Present Continuous tense – check out your knowledge and understanding.

The Present Continuous Tense - In which of these situations do you think we use the present continuous (progressive) form..? To talk about..

Grammar Check-up! The Simple Present tense – check out your knowledge and understanding.

In which of these situations do you think we use the simple present form in English..? To talk about...

10 POLISH TRANSLATION MISTAKES – Are you making these mistakes?

Directly translating from your language to English can result in some ‘classic’ word choice or word order mistakes, and often some ‘missing’ words! Are you making these mistakes?