Can I Say “Y’all” Professionally?

In my former life representing a state government agency to state legislators, their staff, and other stakeholders, saying “y’all” was part of humanizing ourselves when we were on good terms. If there was hostility, we got more businesslike, but the people on my team with stronger Texas accents also used y’all more than those without. I can go either way, so I could pick and choose as I felt was appropriate.

Now I work with bloggers, almost exclusively by email. Some of them are obviously high powered executive-y types and with them I am always on my best behavior, including using very standard English. Some of them are just, you know, REAL PEOPLE. (Sorry, executives, I know you are real people too.) It’s part of my job to be personable, establish positive relationships, and all that good stuff.

So I find myself wanting to type “y’all” in emails when I would normally would say that if I were talking with someone face to face or on the phone. I’m worried that someone may think I am condescending to them, trying to be folksy. Since they probably think I work in an office in California rather than from home in Austin, they wouldn’t necessarily know that this is really how I talk.

Any thoughts?

3 thoughts on “Can I Say “Y’all” Professionally?

  1. Ms BGC

    hmmm, I’m australian so it would sound really weird to me but kind of cute as well. I guess it depends on whether or not you want them to think of you as a professional or not. Is it more important to be likeable or credible?

    i avoid colloquialisms in professional emails, especially with people I have never met, just because you can’t judge so well how a relationship is going via email.

  2. Skye

    @ Ms BCG, I’m pretty sure that if I had to think about it that much, I should avoid it. Why I couldn’t figure this out without publishing an entire post is beyond me.

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