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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Post Question about tone of a sentence

    Someone in our company wrote this to me: "When you get a moment, I'd like to see a project plan for XX." Do you think this has a bossy tone? Does this person see himself having a higher rank than me to write "I'd like to see", or is it OK for people of similar rank to write emails like this to each other. Creating a project plan for XX is my job and I have no problem doing it, but his emails always have a top-down tone. I just want to see if I am getting paranoid or is it really the case.

    EDIT: there is no "project plan" developed yet and he is asking me to prepare a project plan, which is fine with me.
    Last edited by morbrb; 18-Sep-2015 at 05:26.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    The problem with e-mail is that you can't hear tone of voice.
    Often people can "hear" a tone that isn't meant.

    If it were me, I'd say WHY I wanted to see it. Like...

    Jim said you did a great job with the project plan. When you have a moment, I'd like to take a look to see what I learn from it for my next plan.
    or...
    I'm trying to identify who can be on a team I"m forming, but I believe a number of the people I'm considering are on the project XX team. When you get a moment, I'd like to see that plan so I can see how much time they might have available and when.

    But some people write short emails. Maybe they are on their phone and typing is hard. Maybe they aren't chatty.

    If this person does it often, you could write back quite politely, "Certainly, but could you tell me why you need it? That would help me know whether or when to copy you on future documents."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    Thanks, but he should see the plan to do his job and I am in charge of creating the plans. So no problem on why I should do it or why he wants it.

    My only concern is with the "I'd like to see" phrase. So if he says "Can you prepare a plan", or "please prepare a plan", or "maybe you could create a plan", etc, I would be 100% fine.

    The guy is American and easygoing in his emails. I come from a place with more traditions etc, so I just want to see is it a cultural difference or simply he wants to convey that he is the boss. I want to see how does and American interpret this. Can I tell my boss, "I'd like to see XX", meaning that you should prepare a XX document and show it to me??? Would it be polite (by a group of easygoing people's standard)?
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 18-Sep-2015 at 08:41. Reason: Remove unnecessary link.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    It's hard to say based on this one sample.
    "Maybe you could..." wouldn't be right either. If it's your job, it's your job.
    "Please prepare a plan" is just as commanding (I'm the boss, so do it!) as "I'd like to see."

    "Could you" would be the most polite - more so than "Can you."

    My feeling is his adding "When you get a moment" shows that he knows that he doesn't get to set your priorities. (Is if the plans took "a moment" to produce!) That shows he knows he doesn't get to tell you what to do.

    I teach a seminar on effective communications - I'm going to remember this when I talk about "tone" next time.

    I would suggest that people with a MBTI (if you haven't done one yourself, there are free ones online that are pretty good) F (versus T) put more effort into a friendly tone of voice, while a strong T person would be puzzled as to why someone would think there was anything wrong with it.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    To be honest, it doesn't sound particularly bossy to me, but I don't know the person.

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    #6

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    "When you get a moment" is pretty non-specific and is an attempt to not just make this a "do this now!" type of statement.

    I don't read it as particularly bossy. Yes, he's asking you to do something. But apparently it is something you are supposed to do. He is being polite in not using a demanding tone ("I would like to see") or requiring it now.

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    #7

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post

    I would suggest that people with a MBTI (if you haven't done one yourself, there are free ones online that are pretty good) F (versus T) put more effort into a friendly tone of voice, while a strong T person would be puzzled as to why someone would think there was anything wrong with it.
    Funny you would mention this, cause I recently did one. I saw some people on Twitter with "INTF," etc on their profiles and wondered what it was.

    I'm INTJ and my answer above shows what you said. I thought the email had enough politeness to the request.

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    #8

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Morbrb:

    In my opinion, you are NOT being paranoid.

    In my opinion, I feel that he should NOT have expressed himself with "I'd like to see."

    Since you two are of equal rank in the company, he should have been more humble and respectful.

    "Hi, Morbrb. I was just wondering whether there is any chance of my getting to see the project plan soon."

    I believe that people should always be polite, no matter what culture they come from.

    I have just read a popular American comic strip that reminded me of your post.

    BOSS: Have you finished the Fenderson contract yet?
    EMPLOYEE: Not exactly, boss.
    BOSS: Not exactly?! Have you at least started working on it yet?!


    The cartoon strip is entitled "Blondie" by Dean Young and John Marshall. 2015 copyright by King Features Syndicate.
    Last edited by TheParser; 18-Sep-2015 at 21:22.

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    #9

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Since you two are of equal rank in the company, he should have been more humble and respectful.
    I am not in favour of being humble (definitions #2 and, especially, #3 below) to anyone. I may be conscious of my own failings (definition #1 of humble below) , but that's as far as it goes with me. Being humble to(wards) others smacks of Uriah Heep to me.

    adjective
    1. conscious of one's failings
    2. unpretentious; lowlya humble cottage, my humble opinion
    3. deferential or servile
    (http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dic...english/humble)

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    #10

    Re: Question about tone of a sentence

    I am ESTP.

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