16

I frequently use the expression "I would love to" when I write e-mails to request things from the other party. As in "I would love to have a call to discuss..." I feel like it conveys humility, expressing that the other party would be doing me a favor by accepting the call, for instance, which is useful for sales.

However, it was pointed out to me that this may not be very professional, because it has the word "love" in it. Are there any similar constructs that can convey the similar subtlety of the expression, while still sounding more professional?

Expressions like "I would like to.." clearly don't make the cut..

  • 2
    The "love" in "I would love to" has little to do with the "love" in "I love you"; the second one is expressing a personal emotion that is (arguably) unprofessional, while the first one is expressing enthusiasm for an event or an activity. "I love my job" or "I love making clients happy", when spoken without sarcasm, are exceedingly professional. – S. G. May 11 '16 at 15:53
  • @S.G. correct. Yet in some cultural contexts (non-native speakers, for example) the difference might not be clear. Assuming this is the case with OP, their request for alternative phrases is more than understandable. – Stephie May 11 '16 at 15:57
  • 3
    I hope saying "I would love to" is not unprofessional, because if it is, I've been unprofessional my whole 19-year career, so far. No one has ever suggested I stop using that phrase. If you're customer facing, talking about yourself and using the word "I" a lot isn't necessarily ideal. So you could consider asking what would work best for the customer, and making sure the word "you" appears in the question, e.g., "when would you like to discuss this?" – Todd Wilcox May 11 '16 at 16:52
  • How about "I would be happy to discuss with you" or "I would be happy to set up a time when we could discuss this in detail"? – Ryan Griggs May 11 '16 at 18:39
  • I think it is acceptable. It shows your honesty and people appreciate that. – Bhaskar May 12 '16 at 3:09
20

My verb of choice would be appreciate.

It conveys all aspects you want to express: a polite request, valuing the other party's time and effort and a gratefulness for their contribution.

| improve this answer | |
  • So instead of "I would love to have a call to discuss collaboration opportunities", use "I would appreciate a call to discuss collaboration opportunities" ? I somehow feel like the former is more "active" because of the action verb. What do you think? – user1496984 May 11 '16 at 14:18
  • 1
    @user1496984, that would be a request to the other person to call you, but basically, yes. – Stephie May 11 '16 at 14:35
  • 2
    There's a danger with making a request in this indirect way, which is that there's a fine line between expressing enthusiasm for the call, and coming across as sarcastically giving an instruction. "I would love to have a call" is IMO more polite than "I would appreciate a call". The latter to me can come across as, "the very least you could do is have this call" or even "I am entitled to a call". I speak British English in case that makes a difference. – Steve Jessop May 12 '16 at 12:01
  • @SteveJessop: That is for a large part because of a lack of context. If you're offered a clear favor, above what's reasonable to expect, then appreciation is not at all sarcastic. If however the offer is just meeting basic expectations, "appreciation" is sarcastic precisely because it's you're responding as if it were a favor. This is not unique to "appreciation", any form of clearly misplaced gratitude is sarcastic. c.f. "Thanks Obama". – MSalters May 12 '16 at 13:52
10

I don't know why you said I would like to... "clearly doesn't make the cut", because it is precisely the expression you need to use in a formal context such as a work email. When you are making a request, "like" is way more polite than "love", and "like" doesn't have any of the connotations that would make "love" unsuitable regardless of politeness or lack thereof.

I would like to have a call to discuss the new project. Would Wednesday at 2:00 work for you?

| improve this answer | |
  • Interesting. To me, writing "I would like to have a call" seems to bossy, almost authoritarian.. But then again, I'm not a native speaker, so maybe it's OK. – user1496984 May 11 '16 at 15:00
  • 4
    I agree with both answers. Both appreciate and would like work. To user1496984 (the OP), if you want to show strong enthusiasm (which you may probably have when you say 'd love to), you could also use I would like very much to, e.g., I would like very much to schedule a meeting with you to review both my performance and my request. (The example was taken from AMA Handbook of Business Letters, 4th Edition.) – Damkerng T. May 11 '16 at 15:02
  • @user1496984 Maybe this is a difference of culture or training, but (in relation to your comment on Stephie's answer) I hear "I would appreciate..." as having more of the negative connotations you apply to "I would like to..." here. Perhaps because its usage in more formal settings is often a subtle complaint? "I don't like this and would prefer that." – GalacticCowboy May 11 '16 at 16:44
  • @user1496984: it can do, for example if you go into a coffee shop and say "I would like to have an espresso" then that's perfectly polite but you're correct that it's closer to an instruction than a request, because you don't expect it to be declined. But without that context "I would like to have a call" can be read either way, as "please can I have a call" or as "my irrefutable will is that we shall have a call" :-) – Steve Jessop May 12 '16 at 12:05
7

"It would be great if we could..."

Seems like it will fit the bill to me. Slightly stronger than "I would like to..." and slightly weaker than "I would love to..."

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Also, I think the passive voice and switch to "we" instead of "I" helps neutralize/formalize it. – ColleenV May 11 '16 at 15:44
  • This seems to be the "professional" way of expressing enthusiasm about whatever is discussed. Without the "great" part, some of the feeling is lost. "Greatly appreciated" and the like can have the same function. – laugh salutes Monica C May 11 '16 at 19:24
  • 1
    My colleagues use "it would be great if" to mean anything between "the ideal for me is" and "the company will be bankrupt tomorrow unless". It's fine for politeness but not necessarily very informative :-) – Steve Jessop May 12 '16 at 12:06
  • @SteveJessop I think many folks consider politeness inversely proportional to the amount of information conveyed. Isn't giving someone too much information at once a form of micro-aggression ? :) – ColleenV May 12 '16 at 19:20
4

I don't understand why somebody would point out "would love to" or "would like to" may not be very professional. They are perfectly fine in any business context. An expression like

I would be much obliged if we could have a call to discuss XYZ.

will be considered unnecessarily formal. It doesn't mean you can't use this expression. You can use this expression if you are dealing with high authorities or if you are asking for a special favor.

The most common expression would be

I would appreciate (it) if we could have a call to discuss XYZ.

Again, this could be considered a little formal.

You can just say

Please let me know what time is/would be most convenient for you to discuss XYZ.

or

Please give me a call to discuss XYZ when it is convenient for you.

Using just "please" is simple, polite, and it is not unprofessional at all.

| improve this answer | |
  • Maybe this is now getting too much into the specifics of my use case, but I usually write: "I would love to have a call. When would be a good time for you?". That's why I like the "would love to" construct; it politely introduces the next question about scheduling. I could say "Please tell me a good time for you", but I'm missing the sentence before it, which introduces the whole calling business. (Not sure if this makes sense..) – user1496984 May 11 '16 at 15:07
  • @user1496984 I edited my answer. You can use "would love to" or "would like to". They don't sound unprofessional. – user24743 May 11 '16 at 15:20
4

Go with "I would be delighted to..." it conveys what you describe when using "I would love to..."

| improve this answer | |
1

I often use:

I would welcome the opportunity to ...

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.