I hope this finds you well…

No worries! All the best! Happy Monday.

There’s a certain movement against all of the niceties that we use to populate our communication these days.

Not least the standard opening of “I hope this finds you well”, or its bastard offspring “I hope all’s well with you”.

Oh!… it’s so insincere! We don’t really mean it! Eliminate this from your emails and you’ll be more to-the-point, more concise.

Other people, on LinkedIn usually

Myself, when I’m writing to people I don’t know (forgive me, for I have recruited), I’ll start with “I hope you don’t mind the direct approach” and honestly, I actually DO hope they don’t mind the direct approach. I’m genuinely trying to be nice.

I don’t start with “Right, I’ve got a role here. I want to talk to you about it”, because quite frankly, I’d come across as a bit of a ****.

Instead, I take from my very English heritage of using niceties. I use language that is designed not to offend, even if the thing I’m suggesting is the very opposite of offensive anyway.

That’s what’s so great about the English language, that it has flourished to the point of total non-offensiveness. We use our language to disarm people, to make sure that we’re never misconstrued and to make sure that we’re just being nice.

That’s why we come across all Hugh Grant when we’re responding to outreach like this. I frequently get nice responses such as:

“That’s no problem at all!” or “No worries whatsoever, I don’t mind the direct approach.”

And that’s nice. Because I can see that these people are nice and they’re using language to be nice. All this niceness.

And we remember those that aren’t nice. Recruiters bear grudges more than anyone in the working world. I remember especially the girl who replied without hoping I was well, without telling me there were no worries, and that frankly, the salary on offer was a disgrace.

Well, I thought. The cheek of it!

And I put a note on her file saying “Rude.”

She could have written instead:

“Thank you so much for getting in touch with me. I, in return, hope that you are having a fine day and no worries at all about the direct approach, I do appreciate it. However, I’m rather afraid that this remuneration is a little below the level at which I would consider a move, but thank you so much for thinking about me. All the best and have a fantastic weekend.”

An imaginary candidate who has more time on their hands than anyone else, but go along with me

See how we use words like “a little below” when in reality, what we mean is “I’m earning twice that already”.

And oh yes, we may be having a bad day. And we may be in a mood, for whatever reason. We are an instinctively angry nation. Just look at the English when they’re watching a football match. Or trying to get their excessively large 4×4 cars down narrow roads at school pick-up time. Red with rage.

How dare the world not succomb to my car’s massiveness.

That woman this morning driving her massive Audi down a sidestreet – see how angry I get about this? We’re angry people aren’t we.

And yet, we use our language to placate others before they get angry. We use our language sometimes to quell or hide our own anger, but mostly, we use our language to be nice to each other and to ensure that we’re never misconstrued, and for this reason, I stand up and proudly defend those who start their emails with “I Hope You’re Well”.

I defend your right to not mind at all, to offer no worries and to wish people all the very best, whether you mean it or not.

Because these moments of niceness oil the wheels of our working day. They sometimes make us smile.

I hope this blog found you well. All the best.

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