This little tip was hatched within minutes of my last newsletter when I received hundreds of overblown wordy automated replies. Avoid these 5 common phrases the next time you are on vacation. They make you sound stiff and less intelligent than you really are.
1. “This is an automatically generated . . ." (D’uh)
2. "I am currently out-of-the-office . . ." (Obviously it’s “current.)
3. "This is to inform you . . ." (That sounds like the opening of a subpoena.)
4. "Upon my return . . ." (Sound human. Write "When I return . . .")
5. "I will respond in due course." (When is "due course?" Next week? Next fiscal year?)
Oh, here’s my favorite: "If you are a spammer, take me off your list." (Does the writer reallly think spammers will assiduously read the message, and say, "Oh darn, she doesn’t want us to contact her anymore? OK, we’ll take her off our list.")
To make yourself sound like the living, breathing gracious human being that you are, say something like this the next time you are away:
“Thank you for your message. I am away until August 30 and will answer you when I get back. I’m looking forward to being in touch with you.”
And, if you really want to sound professional and warm, change the subject line from "Out of the office" to "I am away until . . ."
Happy next vacation!