Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

You will at times need to express urgency in business emails.

How can you ask for immediate action from a colleague without sounding too demanding or disrespectful?

What you say will be different depending on who you are emailing.

You may need to be more informal or more formal.

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Aubrey share with you formal and informal phrases.

These will give you the tools you need to express urgency in business English emails.

Urgency in Business Emails

Lindsay shares that she is going to a podcast conference shortly.

She looks forward to these types of events because she gets to meet new people.

Aubrey asks her if she sends an email to her newfound friends to follow up.

Lindsay answers that she doesn’t do that because she often doesn’t know what to say.

She would often use LinkedIn and send a quick message and connect.

She feels emails are more formal and would need more details.

She prefers an informal approach when touching base with other people.

In today’s episode, the topic is related to sending messages using business English.

A listener has sent a question that has inspired today’s episode.

Today’s question

“Happy New Year! Firstly, I want to thank you Michelle and Jessica and Aubrey for this amazing job at All Ears English. I really love it. I used to listen to the podcast when I’m driving from my job to my house. Once I lived in San Paulo, Brazil and I take a lot of time because it’s traffic but being able to listen to All Ears English, I’m not wasting my time. I have a question for you. Sometimes, I have to engage people from my company to answer emails and questions to solve some system issues and always I’m not sure which is the best approach to say this: “Please revert back on this”, “Please return back”, “Please answer this”, or “Please try to respond.” I hope you have a great day. Many thanks in advance.”

– Arianne Sosa

Wording emails is difficult

Aubrey says this is a common struggle.

She often experiences this herself.

She also finds it challenging to decide what phrases to use when composing emails.

Her students have also mentioned struggling with this when she is teaching business English.

Sometimes your message may be unclear or may sound pushy or disrespectful.

Phrases for Business English Emails

When sending an email at work, you have to consider the tone and the relationship you have with the recipient of the email.

You should use the appropriate tone with your co-worker and superiors.

If you’re emailing the CEO or your direct manager, you don’t want them to think you are rude or rushing them.

Lindsay and Aubrey share with you a few phrases, both formal and informal, that you can use to send the right message.

#1: Formal

  • “Please respond at your earliest convenience.”

This is a good formal way to show some urgency in an email.

You can use this with your colleagues when working on a project.

You can also use this with prospective clients.

  • “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

This one doesn’t express urgency if used alone.

You have to mention the deadline prior to this phrase so they know when they need to respond to you.

You’ll also need to let them know if you’re requiring them to acknowledge your email.

#2: Informal

  • “Let me know asap”

If you notice, the asap is written in lower case letter because this is a much informal approach.

Abbreviations are usually written in capital letters in a business setting.

Aubrey shares she uses this phrase often when emailing with the All Ears English team.

This is very simple, clear and casual.

  • “Please get back to me as soon as you can.”

As mentioned earlier, you have to consider the relationship you have with the recipient of your email.

You can send this out to a prospective client who you already have a relationship with.

This approach has more of a personal touch so it can be a bit semi-formal.

Related episode

Lindsay and Aubrey have done an episode related to today’s topic.

It included information about how to end business English emails.

This can be another tricky issue to navigate.

It also changes depending on the relationship

You can find that episode here.


Lindsay and Aubrey share a roleplay using the phrases shared in today’s episode.

This will help you better understand how to properly use them.

They point out that these phrases can also be used on phone calls.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are co-workers who are having a business conversation over the phone.

Aubrey: Well I think that’s about it. Thank you for taking the time to chat today.

Lindsay: Oh no problem! Just get back to me as soon as you can about those numbers.

Aubrey: Ah yes, will do! You need both past stats and future projections.

Lindsay: Let me know the future projections asap. We do need documentation on past stats but it’s not as urgent.


In business settings, it can be challenging to ask for urgency through email.

You don’t want to have miscommunication by using the wrong tone or the wrong words.

In the workplace, you want to continue building those connections and creating strong relationships with your colleagues and superiors.

Another piece of advice shared by Lindsay is when sending an email with urgency, go ahead and write the email but don’t send it right away.

Take the time to step back and read it and check the tone and words you used.

You don’t want to sound demanding or rude.

Be sure to check out our online business English course!

Which of the phrases from today’s episode do you think you’ll be using in your next business email?

Share it in the comments below with a few examples.

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