Email Review: Turning Down A Meeting Invitation [PME #1]

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Turning down a meeting invitation might be a difficult thing to do. Even after carefully choosing your words, you always wonder if your email is good enough ​🤔​ In this new series called Pimp My Email, we perform an email review on your emails and help you write better ones 👍​

In this episode, Vera, Ilan, and Andrej do an email review on some old messages Andrej sent to his old manager. Pay attention, you might be doing the same mistakes. 

We will tell you:

▪ How to convey your message the proper way

▪ What words to use in the context of the email

▪ How to make the email shorter than it needs to be

▪ And so much more.


Andrej Zito

This is the first email, this email was sent by the client. And this is basically a meeting invite. And this is my follow up just to my. So I had two managers, I’m not sure how I’m going to describe this. So the darker blue is the manager of my manager. And the the lighter blue is a reference to my direct manager who I didn’t like that much. And I was actually, I have actually better relationship with the manager of my manager, which is, which is the dark blue person. I’ll leave you just to see this.

Ilan Bloch

All I’m trying to say if you’re

Vera Richards

You could put it in one sentence, I’m very…

Andrej Zito

sorry.

Vera Richards

You could’ve said it in one sentence.

Ilan Bloch

Right. Okay, so the other one was not that bad. This one,

Andrej Zito

this one is worse. Okay. So just to be clear, this is an internal, right? With my I don’t know, like, I’m sending email to Vera or to Ilan.

Ilan Bloch

Yeah. But you would say that in the face, you don’t want those things. And, and especially as you’re going to n plus one and stuff.

Vera Richards

Right? Yeah. I mean, I get your point. And I agree with you, because I just recently told my team to look at their calendars. And if they’re spending more than 50% of their time in meetings, they need to have that to at least 50% or less a day, because they’re not as productive in these ideas together. So I agree with you on that. But yeah, again, I think the way you are formulating this would be would be offensive to the

Andrej Zito

reaction. So give me give me give me like the worst parts. And this is not the whole email. So this is just the first email and then I can scroll up a little bit further. But worst thing here,

Vera Richards

yeah, I think suggesting that you’re wasting time of people through this idea, which was obviously someone’s idea to do a meeting. You know, is is like suggesting this, this is really not a very good idea. So so. And then that just, you know, 10 hours a day, that means

Ilan Bloch

I think that part is is is worse, because here you’re you’re attacking your your, your manager. And it’s, it’s not that it’s worse. It’s not about the fact that you’re happening, and you’re going to waste your time. As a matter of saying, I have someone who’s pretending she’s doing a lot in and out but that’s because she’s putting a lot of meanings, which aren’t necessarily and the sentence before that. All I’m trying to say is it’s a bit blunt but sometimes you know, you you have to make your point in in you need to you need to push your your ideas forward because otherwise they won’t be heard. Is that the way in? What do you feel when you click on send?

Andrej Zito

I think this this is also a question about this is like when you say it’s blonde. I think again, I think we were discussing this earlier, I think you were mentioning the different communication style, like in America versus Europe. So would this blunt be blunt as as an okay, like it’s a straightforward thing like this is clear that I will not participate and or is it blunt as not very polite and I didn’t put the sugar coating around it.

Vera Richards

Right. Well, I was just saying you could have said it in one sentence saying unfortunately, I will be unable to attend this meeting. Period. You You know, like, that’s it. But yeah,

Andrej Zito

okay, but but

Vera Richards

I actually, you know,

Andrej Zito

just I know, I know. But but but the thing is that when you say that I will be unable to attend this meeting. To me, it sounds like a very nice, okay, professional, but it’s like an excuse. Because it’s not that I’m unable, because I am able, technically, if I make the effort, I’m just not willing because I don’t see a point in it. Right? So in that case, would you prefer to have this nice thing like I’m unable because we know that such communication maybe doesn’t lead to conflict, but it’s also not very transparent in how I’m feeling about the whole thing? And I

Vera Richards

think that’s the business language, right? Like, if you say, I will not attend this meeting period, then yes, I’m gonna say, well, he is definitely trying to, to get a rise, or does he just want to quit, because he’s just not gonna do anything or be part of a team? So. So that’s why if you didn’t want to have that conflict, and you say, unable, there could be many reasons, right? You’re unable because that time doesn’t suit you, or you have a client meeting at the same time? Or, you know, etc, etc. So, it’s how far do you want to take it? Right? If you had a very open relationship with your, with your manager, you could go to his or her office and say, you know, this is really not making sense to me and I, just against those types of meetings, by once you put it on the paper, I like this ranch, without the context, everybody can read it in whatever dramatic tone, they want to read it.

Ilan Bloch

Anything you say can be used against you.

Andrej Zito

I heard that advice many times that, that some things are better than not written, right? Because Because yeah, when you are with a person, you also have, I don’t know, your facial expressions, and it’s different. And maybe people have bigger balls, when they write emails, it’s like being an internet warrior. But then in a way, is it is it about the the risk that people will interpret your email differently than you want it? Or is it that whatever I would tell you in person, I also tell you through email, because that’s how I feel.

Vera Richards

Yes, how big of a point do you want? Do you, if you do it in person, there is you have a chance for a discussion, you can defuse the situation or the manager can or calm your fears, or you know, or calm the conflict. In the in the email, it’s, it’s again, up for interpretation. Also, someone can keep this and say, okay, here is you know, when they want to hire you, they say, Oh, look how he has been communicating. And there is a real,

Ilan Bloch

yeah, back to on the facial expressions, or what we were mentioning earlier. At two levels, I mean, there’s yourself and there is the person you’re talking to. So when when you’re right, they would read whatever they interpret and with your body language, it adds a vast amount of communication. And you also get their reactions to what you’re saying. And you know, you’ve been too far and you can diffuse like you said, Roberto. It’s it’s more it’s more appropriate to talk those things in for whatever Records are made for would want would not want to have that on records. But what’s interesting is that you’re you’re self aware even nine years ago, I see it was fun night 2013 No one has a problem with it, but I do as expected to mine

Andrej Zito

Oh, yeah, I was I was the black sheep. Okay, let me scroll up if there’s something interesting. So this is the response from my manager. Well, there is nothing there is nothing special Because I mean, he knows how to communicate like me. So I might just

Ilan Bloch

what you did I just did you feel that the so this is this is he, he did feel that the attack on the light blue person is was the most was the most inappropriate thing all the story, because it starts with that, because it’s the last it’s really because it’s that’s the one it’s it’s not about meetings.

Andrej Zito

Okay, I’ll scroll up if I can another gym from a me light blue person is working 10 hours because she likes nukes.

Ilan Bloch

You like numbers? You came with all the calculations again? Do?

Andrej Zito

I am? I forgot the dollars again, right?

Vera Richards

The numbers should not be there.

Andrej Zito

Right? Oh, yeah, this is this is this is the this is the number like waste hours of work on that. I think I read some some articles about other people who don’t like meetings. And they’re like, Okay, if you organize a meeting, it’s one hour, right? But if you multiply that by all the people who have to attend the meeting, then like the amount of time grows significantly.

Vera Richards

Right. But it’s also,

Andrej Zito

I think, another thing to say. And again, this is where you can tell me how you feel about it with your team members, is that I say I will not have meetings at all times. I think this was because the there were there was a meeting across three different time zones. So America, you Asia, which I think meant that I had to stay up at the very late time. So that also edits to the frustration because first of all, I didn’t see much value, and you want me to join the meeting. And I don’t know, 10 or 11pm. And at the time, well, I’m still very much into health and like, like being sane. So that was another reason why I didn’t want to do it. Because it’s just like, this meeting is at insane. hour for me. So do you do? Do you feel like some of the meetings require people to join at all times? Would you would you force your team members to join at all times?

Vera Richards

I don’t. I always only climb meetings where we really need someone to join at our time. I do ask them to to do that. But on rare occasions, they’re usually pretty good at the client is usually aware where they are located and tries to not make it too difficult. So not internal meeting by me.

Ilan Bloch

Not on a regular basis, because we talk in a weekly one here. So

Andrej Zito

yeah.

Ilan Bloch

But it’s interesting. That’s the odd times is an important part of it for you. And and you don’t put it forward too much. Could have been could have been earlier,

Andrej Zito

I think it was like how do you say cherry cherry on the top page? To me, the first thing is that, that there are eight people who need to meet regularly just to do something, because to me again, that that’s for another discussion, like weekly meetings. But we only have two minutes. So that was my my main core issue. And the second thing that okay, if I have the main issue that I also have to deal with at all time, which is like, what do you want from me?

Vera Richards

Yeah, I mean, to me, it sounds like it like in the first email, you basically wanted to strongly disagree with this meeting. On the second one, you are adding additional arguments to kind of justify your point,

Andrej Zito

right. And probably another thing is that I was personally attacking that light blue manager, because I wanted to point out that one of the and that’s that’s again, another discussion, like you know, like when people tell you that I have no time is it because they’re really working or because they’re wasting time doing stupid things.

Ilan Bloch

And you didn’t fear anything about the last sentence. Like

Andrej Zito

I’m deferring that I can support about that.

Ilan Bloch

I’m different than you can fire Oh, no, you won’t because I’m not the one. This was

Andrej Zito

this was more about like, like the confidence like I knew that I do things differently because because I like I had the experience working with a team you know, and They are different, let’s say the usual professionals and I do things, not in a professional way. But I also think that I think about things differently and maybe come up with different things. So yeah, that’s what I was just saying that I’m just different. And I don’t want to be part of this person who just goes to meetings because there are meetings. And that’s the whole purpose of it. Like I wanted to efficiently use my time and create the value in the way that let’s say fits me.

Vera Richards

Okay. That nobody can accuse you of not being direct. Right.

Andrej Zito

There’s like, there’s like no space for misinterpretation,

Ilan Bloch

not in this one.

Andrej Zito

All right. Well, awesome. Well, thank you very much. All right, everyone, that’s the end of our pilot episode for a new series called pimp my email. If you want to see this series continue, and especially if you want to get personal feedback on your emails, and how you could improve your email communication. Or if by any chance, somebody told you that your email style sucks, and you want to make sure what other people think about it, because different people can view words and the style and emails and communication differently. So if you are interested in third or fourth party feedback on your emails, all you have to do is send us your email to this email. And we’ll make sure to include it in the future episodes, just like you have seen in this episode, all you have to do is blur out or hide the confidential information. And you can do the same thing for your name. Or you can just send a note to me and you can just simply ask me not to say your name publicly. So we can also make this fully anonymous, to make sure that you don’t get into trouble. But of course, our whole idea with this series is to make sure that all of us can learn from the emails that we write. So not only we are going to give you a personal feedback, direct feedback to your emails, but hopefully, what we say is also going to help others improve their emails. So if you’re interested, make sure to send your email to the email that I already shared before. And stay tuned, make sure you subscribe to our channel. And hopefully we’ll be back with Verizon, Elon and myself reviewing your emails this time. Bye bye

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