We’ve all dashed off those emails requesting action – from clients, colleagues, suppliers and so forth. Yet sometimes, these emails can backfire on us due to an overly-aggressive tone, and can alienate the people we work with.
In English, it’s really essential to avoid confrontational language so as not to risk this outcome.
So what’s the magic formula for getting what you want in English?
A couple of examples:
I’d change it to: “Please could you send the figures by tomorrow”. Still direct, but much less confrontational.
Alternatively, using passive language is another great technique:
Try: “The figures need to be in by tomorrow, please” or “Could I have those figures by tomorrow, please”.
Use these same tips when you need to ramp up the pressure to get your desired result:
I’d suggest: “I haven’t yet received the quarterly reports, which were due in last Friday. Please could you submit them by this evening at the latest.”
Your message is now direct and assertive, yet non-confrontational.
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Keep in mind – these techniques can (and should!) also be used in meetings and phone calls.
Using a combination of these three tips will help you hit the right tone – assertive yet diplomatic. You’ll get the desired result – and with no offence taken!