8 Catchy Words That Will Make Your Emails Pop

Computer Keyboard with symbolic e-mail key

By John Brandon

Being direct by email is a gift that keeps on giving.

You communicate effectively, the person understands you, the team excels, and the entire project succeeds. I'm not saying it all starts with just one word, but you'd be surprised how a word with a little fire in its belly can inspire people to act. Adding one word that might not be as well-known doesn't hurt--if you choose the word carefully, keep it in context, and trust the person will take the time to look it up if needed. Juicier words, the kind that stick out and make you pay attention, get results.

Here are a few of my favorites...

1. Decamp

I love using this word in a business context. It means to suddenly move your location and comes from the world of military encampments. It's fun to say, too. "Let's decamp to the other conference room later today" is a great way to avoid sounding dull.

2. Cachet

I used to laugh when this word came up in an old business magazine called Portfolio. It was as though the editors all decided to insert the word randomly. It's still a good one. It means something has "prestige" or is worthy of respect.

3. Superfluous

This wonderfully useful word means something is unnecessary. Technically, it means "more than enough" when enough will do just fine. In a business context, it's profound. You can build an entire company by not being superfluous. Isn't it time you tried it in an email?

4. Nefarious

It's OK to be a little sarcastic in email, right? This word is way over the top. It means to be totally wicked or criminal. If you send a message to your marketing team and tell them the donuts in the lobby are nefarious in nature, people will notice. And laugh.

5. Quibble

When you send a message, consider using words that have subtle meanings, especially if you can insert them into everyday conversations. Quibble means to make a slight objection, and that can happen when there's a project that is mostly on target but needs a slight fix.

6. Remit

This word comes from the field of journalism; it's useful when you are discussing mobile app development or who is in charge of the tax plan. It means your area of activity that's been officially assigned. So, it's what you are supposed to be doing officially.

7. Incisive

It sounds like a medical term and maybe a little painful, but it's a great one to use when you need to be really specific. It means you are intelligently analytical. It helps you cut through the noise and get right to the point.

8. Incendiary

People in the office might think you are talking about a fire-drill or an emergency. That's OK. You will get their attention. This word means something is intentionally meant to cause conflict. It can apply to a topic or possibly a person in the office who just wants to stir up trouble.

Now, feel free to practice on me and drop me a message anymore. Bonus to anyone who can compose an entire message using all of these words, go.