A great way of business communication is sending a friendly reminder. Reminding someone about a task at work through email, message, or even face-to-face can come off with rudeness. However, like every other business communication success, there are ways to remind your colleagues politely.
The trick lies in using phrases that are courteous, clear and to the point. The aim of friendly reminders is to ensure that your message is sent across clearly without sounding abrupt or rude. Being assertive is key which serves the purpose of stating the urgency of the task in hand without losing politeness in the process.
Being direct can often backfire and lead to feelings of bitterness.
Reminding someone about a task completion in personal and professional life is challenging. You need to be persistent but polite. Positive but not annoying.
The following tips and tricks can help you excel in both your career and life. Sending friendly reminders can be for your seniors, your clients, your business partners, and colleagues. These suggestions will help you set the right tone without being rude.
Now, this does not mean that you have to bug your recipient every single day. Whether you are getting to them directly, through a text message or an email, make sure that you respect their time.
Nagging them on a daily basis does not indicate that you are passionate about your job; you can lose your respect instead. Give your recipient the benefit of the doubt and allow them time to get back to you.
People are caught up in their daily lives with a million things going on in their minds. Allow them a decent amount of time to get back to you.
However, this also does not mean that you allow them to affect your own work in any way. More often than not, in being courteous, we end up losing essential time on certain tasks.
A common rule is to wait for a week before reminding them for the first time. This is generally called a follow-up. A quick phone call, face-to-face meet up or an email will suffice for the first reminder.
After that, go for twice a week if the task is still not completed. If your communication is being held through emails, it is easy to just follow the same thread.
Choose a Medium for Communication
Do the follow up with the recipient through the same communication channel that you used to start the task.
If the task was set through email, use the same email thread to send the reminder. If your company uses a personal communication medium, use the same for every message that you send. This allows all the communicated messages to stay in the front allowing the recipient to quickly review the task.
Often, important messages are lost if you use different mediums to send different messages. This can lead to confusion and then tasks end up being incomplete.
It’s best to keep all the information regarding a certain job at one place rather than have it scattered everywhere else. This can also give the recipient an excuse to avoid your nudging and say that they missed the details. Try to leave no loopholes for your recipient to use in their favor.
Reach Out Through Other Means
If your recipient fails to get back to you through email, you can always give them a call or meet them personally.
If you fail to reach them via phone, reach them on their LinkedIn accounts, Twitter or any other social media channel. Reach them through all mediums to ensure that your message is sent across.
Doing this, helps you keep a record of your follow-up, which can come in handy in future meetings. Often, fellow employees try to put the blame on misinformation or missing data when it comes to accountability.
It is best to keep your activities traceable with proof. When you are doing your job, make sure that you have proof about what you did and what was left undone on the other hand.
A Friendly Nudge
After you send your first reminder email, you need to nudge the recipient again. Take care of a non offensive punctuation and wording. A friendly nudge that starts with a courtesy asking about general health and wellbeing.
This warms your recipient in a friendly manner, which can be followed by a gentle reminder. This makes your message’s tone subtle without sounding abrupt or rude.
Another thing that can get a quick response is by pointing out how completing the task quickly will be beneficial for all. You can set out points that show how working quickly helps the business and each individual player in the team. State the obvious of achieving targets and increasing the company’s profits. That does benefit all, doesn’t it?
Keep Your Tone Polite
Whether it is your first reminder or seventh, your tone should not change. It can get annoying when you do not get a response from your recipient. This does not, however, allow you to get irritated in any way.
Your tone and attitude must stay unified throughout your reminders no matter how many times you send it.
However, make sure that you do not send the same message repeatedly. Always make amendments to the message so the recipient knows that you are making an effort to reach them with the reminder. This also puts pressure on the recipient that your task requires immediate attention.
Copying the same message will lose the importance and essence of the task and your reminders will not be taken seriously.
Being polite to senior managers and clients especially is important for your business success. Your senior managers are busy with loads of work and if you show any sign of irritability, you can lose your respect in their eyes. Patience is a unique virtue and comes in handy in both the business and personal life.
Urge for an Answer
You must aim at getting an answer from your recipient. Sometimes, people may say something like “I will get back to you on this soon” to put things off for the time being.
This is where you will need to be proactive and immediately set up a time for the task. When it comes to clients, it is best to schedule a meeting right then and make it happen.
Once you get a response to your reminder, set a due date and keep them responding to you. The chances of them settling on certain due dates and times are high. Once they have made the commitment, they are highly likely to follow through with it. Your job here is then 90% complete.
Have a Backup Plan
When you are sending reminders for a task, it means that your own work is at stake here. Like every other proactive employee, have a backup plan in hand.
Sometimes, when you are on a schedule and a senior is not responding in time, you need to have alternate options ready. Use the alternatives to complete the tasks if necessary or ask your boss for a time extension.
The same tactic goes for when you are trying to pitch a client. If the client shows no interest in your pitch, have another plan ready for them. It is after all about building a business relationship. Moreover, having more than one plan ready for different clients is the way to go.
Always close the conversation with a thank you. Acknowledging a response is as important as giving one. Make sure you thank your recipient for the time and effort they have put in to get back to you.
Courtesy will always be remembered and in the future, your colleagues, seniors, and clients will respond in time. No matter how many reminders it took you to get a response or how delayed your own work was because of it, you need to show gratitude.
This will always put you on the higher end and all future communications will benefit from this simple act.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your messages should be short and concise.
The email should state that it is a reminder, followed by the due date and the action required from your recipient.
The longer the email or the message, the higher the chances are for the essence of the message to be lost. Being polite means keeping it to the point without beating around the bush.
Your message must have a copy of your initial request in the same email. A usual practice is attaching the previous email as a thread for your recipient to review. If you are unsure of doing that, make sure it is mentioned again in your message about exactly what you need from your recipient.
Another tip is to add a “human touch” to the conversation. Using the same email thread, add a human touch by simple sentences asking about the wellbeing and adding appropriate humor where necessary. Such sentences help steer away the conversation from the task but keep both you and the recipient linked through it.