1. Lead with the future. Background belongs in the background.

2. Be positive.

3. Proclaim what you know, before you disclaim what you don't know.

4. Avoid "I think" and "I feel" -- and even show doubt assertively with words like "probably."

5. "Power punctuate": promote with a dash, demote with parentheses.

6. Distill strong verbs from weak nouns.

7. Use contractions.

Apply those tips to improve this email:

Thank you for your email of May 1, in which you said:

> We've been paying you $1,000,000 a year for a slow Web connection that wastes staff time.

Your disappointment was regretted. I am configuring an XYZ, which is our fastest connection, for you to sample. I do not know exactly when, but I think it will be ready by noon tomorrow. But you will not be able to keep the new connection unless, within 30 days from then, you make a one-year commitment for $2,000,000.

Like the news:

Save $4,000,000 a year by investing half that in our fastest Web connection.

That forecast is my best way to earn back your confidence. Sample the new speed (called XYZ) tomorrow. I'll email you when it's ready -- probably by noon. Then you'll have 30 days in which to commit for a year.