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Sympathy and Condolences in Business

Expressing Sympathy in Business

February 06, 20245 min read

The message we are most often asked to draft for our clients is a sympathy message. In the business space where strategies around conversion and loyalty generally occupy the time, it may seem surprising that such a request is afforded extra scrutiny. Yet, there lies a powerful truth: expressing sympathy and condolences in business is not just a matter of etiquette; it is a bridge to building deeper, more empathetic relationships.

Numbers and metrics often overshadow human emotions in business, but the act of acknowledging and validating what people are going through can have a huge impact on professional dynamics. It's not merely a box to check off on a to-do list; it's another path to trust, loyalty, and a genuine connection.

Given the underlying value of getting the human side of business right, we thought we’d provide a collection of real-world examples for this important touchpoint. Whether you're a seasoned executive, a budding entrepreneur, or simply someone looking to express your condolences, the words of compassion shared here should help guide you. 

Caring at a Human Level

Expressing sympathy and condolences is a powerful way to hit the pause button and acknowledge the humanity in others.  When you take the time to reach out and offer sympathy, you're telling someone that their emotions matter, and that this hardship is recognized and acknowledged. This validation is a fundamental human need, and in the context of business relationships, it can work wonders.

We’ve shared before that the foundation of a long-lasting relationship requires that the other person perceives you as responsive. That means that they know you understand them and what’s important to them, that you validate what’s important or happening to them, and that you show you care and support them.  By taking the time to share your condolences, you are setting the stage for a long and meaningful relationship with this person. You will show them that you care at a human level. 

With that said, let’s look at the words that work for these occasions in business.  Below you’ll find a collection of the messages we have drafted in the past to be used as inspiration for when it matters most.  

  • We were saddened to hear of your <relationship>’s passing. Please know we are thinking of you during this difficult time and hope that you are finding peace in the memories you shared together. Here's a little reminder that he/she will always be with you. Our Condolences, 

  • We're so saddened to hear of <name’s> passing. Please know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers as you navigate through this difficult time. Our Condolences,

  • I was so saddened to hear that your <relationship to person> passed away. There are no words for something like this. I hope you find peace and comfort in the memories you shared together. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts during this difficult time. Plant this tree in honor of him and leave a lasting memory. My deepest condolences, 

  • Dear <name>, I'm so very sorry to hear about your loss.  Sometimes there just aren't enough words to help hold you and be there through all the feelings. I will be thinking of you and your family.  Know that you are loved and so many are sending support your way.  With Sympathy,

  • We wish your family peace and tranquility during this difficult time. Your family will be in our hearts and minds.

Additional phrases:

  • Today and always, may your memories bring you peace, comfort, and strength. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

  • Hopefully you have many memories to lift you up when you need it. You're in our hearts. With Sympathy,

  • You are loved and I hope that you were surrounded by as much of that as possible during this tough time. 

  • My deepest condolences.  If there is anything I can do to help, please reach out.  Sincerely,

  • Here's the official permission you need for all of it!

  • Hang in there - You officially have permission to feel whatever you need to feel!

  • I hope you are taking care of yourself as much as possible as well. You're in my thoughts through this time.

  • Wishing you peace and comfort.

  • You are never far from my thoughts.

And don’t forget the pets who are often just as much a part of the family.

  • We were so saddened to hear that your little <pet name> passed away. We know he/she was your everything and hope the memories of him bring you comfort during this time of loss. Sending Hugs, 

  • We were so saddened to hear that your precious <pet type>, <pet name>, passed away. May the memories of him/her bring you comfort during this time of loss. Sending Hugs, 

  • I was saddened to hear that your long time <pet> passed. We can never keep them long enough! You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Sometimes all people need is permission to feel. To know they are validated in feeling all the things along the way. And the simple fact that you would take the time to acknowledge their journey creates a very strong emotional connection that is truly priceless.  You may not know that value until down the road, but showing up at a human level is the most powerful thing you can do in business. 

If there is anything we can do to assist you in your efforts to express your condolences or care, please feel free to reach out.  Nothing makes us happier than knowing one more person feels cared for. 

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