Following up with someone via email can be tricky. How do you ask again (and again?) without coming across as being a bother? Well, there’s definitely a lot of subtlety that goes into that follow-up email. But, all too often, the difference between an email that gets trashed and one that is responded to is a word or two. A strategic word can be the hook that gets the response.
Here are seven effective words to help make your next email a little better.
Please is polite. Please is respectful. And please suggests that the power to grant the wish is in the hands of the person being requested. People like to feel they have power. So say please.
Not “thanks”, but “Thank you”. And not squeezed against a paragraph. On it’s own line, at the end of the email. With a capital “T”. That kind of “thank you” says you’re genuinely grateful for something, not just saying it to say it.
Is it reasonable to say “reasonable”? We’ll it’s certainly hard to tell someone straight up that they’re not reasonable. Using “reasonable” when you’re asking for something is a great way to make it hard for people to say no.
I need help with this problem. Can you help me find the software I’m looking for? I’ve been trying to solve this for days—can you help? Only a jerk refuses help, so feel free to ask for it.
If you’re not the best person to ask, I apologize. I apologize for bothering you again, but I really need help with this issue. When you apologize, you make it just a bit harder for the recipient to ignore you without feeling guilty.
Everyone is busy. That’s no secret. But often, acknowledging that you know someone is busy is a great way to encourage empathy and get them on your side.
Don’t use this one for the first follow-up. Use it when you’re tried and tried, and the person you’re trying to reach just isn’t biting. At that point, it’s fair to say, “I’m disappointed you haven’t responded to my emails.” Like “apologize”, this word does a great job of making your recipient feel guilty for ignoring you.