I will let you know is an incredibly common phrase, but is it polite enough to use when communicating with a potential employer, professor, or perhaps an intelligent first date?
A polite way for “I will let you know” is to be specific about what you will do and when. When communicating with someone in a professional setting, say: “I will inform you after the meeting.” In casual settings, use the phrase “I will be in touch with you as soon as I know the details.”
If you are looking to improve or expand your word choices when communicating professionally or even informally, you are in the right place to find just the right phrase to substitute the overused and not-so-polite I will let you know. Here we go!
Why the Phrase “I Will Let You Know” is Impolite
Letting someone know something can make them feel inferior. It may also be perceived as though their request is not important enough to you and does not deserve your immediate attention. Try to be tactful when crafting your phrases.
Instead of letting someone know something, think of a word that directly describes what you are seeking to do. Are you looking to update, inform, or advise someone? Think of the reason or reasons why you are not able to provide the information immediately.
Are you looking to inform someone about something but need more time to gather the required information? Are you not sure how long it might take to gather the information? Let’s begin exploring some alternatives by considering these phrases:
“I will inform you.”
“I will stay in touch with you.”
“I will keep you posted.”
“I will keep you informed.”
General phrases like these provide a wide and indeterminable timeframe. They can be used in a professional setting as well as in an informal situation when time is not a pressing issue.
Use your judgment in every situation. Is the information you must provide urgently? If so, more precision may be more appropriate.
Phrases for “I Will Let You Know” That Offer a Clearer Timeframe
It is your responsibility as a polite and skillful communicator to learn the information you need in order to inform others about your intentions and to help move a project in the right direction.
When in doubt – just ask:
- “Is there a timeframe by which you need this information?”
- “How soon do you need to have this information?”
Depending upon the situation, you may be able to ascertain on your own whether a more precise timeframe should be given. If so, there would be no need to ask about it.
Here are more precise and polite phrases that include a timeframe within which you will have the needed information:
“I will inform you within three business days.”
“I will be in touch with you by the end of the week.”
“I will update you in an hour.”
“I will instruct you immediately after the meeting today.”
Do you see how this sounds more polite and provides much more clarity?
When using such precision in your communication, please make sure to keep your promise. If you said you will be in touch with someone by the end of the week – get in touch with them by the end of the week.
Otherwise, your words will not have much weight or be trusted by others in the future.
Phrases for “I Will Let You Know” That Respect the Listener
It is important to frame your phrases in a way to show that you are considerate and respectful of others’ time and, perhaps, their friendship. Think about the other person’s needs, even if they have not made their needs openly known to you.
Consider these phrases:
“I will get back to you after I check my calendar.”
“I will call you right back with that information.”
Let’s look at the bigger picture. There may be times when more than just one person is affected by the way in which you communicate and conduct yourself generally.
Is the success of a project (large or small) dependent upon your ability to communicate more effectively and clearly? Could your relationship with a high-stakes client, a superior, or a loved one be at stake?
Consider these phrases:
“I will call you back with the information this afternoon.”
“I will advise you in person next week.”
“I will send you the information via email shortly.”
Help Your Listener Feel in Control
The word let in ‘I will let you know’ can often, unbeknownst to you, rob the receiver of the little control they may have over a given situation.
This especially can be true if you are speaking with a customer or someone not in a position to demand a clearer answer from you. It does not cost you anything to be polite and drop the greedy let.
In contrast, a business partner or someone overseeing your position in a professional setting would certainly require clearer information and deserve a bit more control over the situation.
Here, let certainly will not cut it as more can be at stake. You want to match or exceed the intelligence, professionalism, and politeness with whom you are speaking.
Hand information to people with honesty and respect. Clarity and efficiency in communication can help you reach that objective – every time.
Here are a few more examples:
“I will report back to you tomorrow afternoon.”
“I will keep you posted as often as possible.”
“I will have this information sent to you today, as requested.”
When you replace the not-so-polite phrase with a more appropriate and precise phrase, you will sound more polite, and intelligent, and gain trust. Replacing the greedy word let with a more precise word, allows your listener to feel more important, in control, and respected.
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.