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The My French Life™ guide to writing feedback emails

With so many team members based all across the world, communication is a central part of My French Life™. So, the quality of our written communication is very important to us.

All editors and in-house team members are trained to write emails in a professional yet warm and friendly manner, following a standard format.

Before we begin, we’d like to share our top four tips for writing feedback emails in the My French Life™ style.

1. Write how you talk: this will eliminate any unnecessary words, phrases, or repetition. If you wouldn’t say a word out loud, don’t use it in an email (e.g. business-y/long words).

2. Try to find the simplest way possible to say what you want. If you’ve taken three sentences to say one thing, cut back. Say it in plain English.

3. Put a positive spin on feedback points: if you’re saying something in a negative way (using don’t, not, etc) flip it around and say the positive alternative. For example…

I could say ‘All sub-headings are to contain one of our keywords’ instead of ‘The sub-headings didn’t have any keywords’.

4. Lastly, avoid words like ‘may’ or ‘perhaps’. This confuses the point: either something is, or isn’t!

Tone

The tone of our emails is very important. Please keep the following in mind as you write:

  • Be professional, but not abrupt; friendly but not too informal.
  • We try to be inclusive. For example, saying ‘our writers’ implies that we own them. ‘The writing team’ indicates that everyone is equal.
  • Avoid using ‘I’. Use ‘we’ as often as possible, except where impractical.
  • When pointing out errors don’t say: “You said” or “you did”. It’s preferable to say, for example: “The title needs a key word”. 

Writing feedback

We also provide comprehensive feedback and training for writers and writing of feedback. It might not seem difficult at first glance, but communicating effectively in the style outlined above only comes with practice! Many writers have trouble with this.

  • Provide positive feedback at the beginning of the email.
  • Then provide training feedback in dot form.
  • Keep feedback short and precise, organised clearly in dot points.
  • Write these feedback points in the passive voice, and avoid using words like ‘must’ or ‘should’.
  • While it’s tempting to add encouraging comments whilst discussing errors, keep them at the beginning and end of the email.
  • Refer to particular point numbers and name the relevant checklist.
  • Bold words for emphasis.

An example

Hello Name,

We hope you’re well!

Thank you for sending in your latest article ‘Title’. [Insert personal comment here].

We’ll put this through our editorial process now and let you know as soon as it’s published.

We’ve also attached our sub-edit to this email, so we could share some feedback on a few stylistic points,comme suit:-
  • Subheadings (and titles) are to be in sentence case.
  • Italics are only to be used for foreign words…
  • So, book titles are to be enclosed in single quotation marks.
  • Double quotation marks are to be used for direct quotes (from an interview, article or book).
Please revisit our article checklist and style guide for clarification or further details on these points!
Merci Name – we hope this is helpful.

Have a lovely day!

Best wishes,

Your name

A second example

Hello NAME,

We hope you’re having a great week! [Insert personal comment here].

We’ve had a read through your latest article – thanks very much for sending this through. Please find out sub-edit attached to this email.

Some phrasing in the article has been tightened, to allow the article to flow better. We also felt it would benefit from a stronger ‘anchor’ – something to show the reader why your story is of value to them. So, we’ve refocused the article slightly to become a summary of your invaluable tips for exploring Dijon. We’ve added an extra sentence to explain this, and numbered each subheading.

Please have a read through and let us know if you’re comfortable with the changes!

Merci NAME,

Best wishes,
Your name







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