14

For years, I have used the following technique to ask for a status update for requests I have made. If I have not received a response after at least 48 hours and normally more, I sent the following email:

Please send a status update for this request. Thanks

If sometimes I am in a more polite mood and ask this way:

Would you please send a status update for this request. Thanks

In the last week, I have been received feedback from my manager and company director that this wording

seem kind of rude, aggressive

and

please check your tone in emails going to our client and the tone seems more like the tone of someone who works for you, not someone who pays your salary

How would you recommend I ask for a status update in a more professional, polite, and sensitive way?

  • 4
    related: workplace.stackexchange.com/a/21987/102 – Kate Gregory May 5 '19 at 16:08
  • Not a full answer but: I tend to agree with your manager, the wording seems awfully short, and lacking any greeting/etc. bordering on rude. I'd use this for people I now very well and have been working with together for years (maybe people in the same team), but never when communicating with a client. – fgysin reinstate Monica Jan 20 at 11:56
24

What I frequently would use, quite informally:

Hey, is there any news on my request?

This basically asks for the same thing, but sounds quite less demanding. I also think it is useful to ask concrete questions, including why it is important for you.

We are currently blocked by this issue, do you think the bugfix will be deployed this week?

Or

I would like to incorporate your plan in my presentation on Monday. Do you think you can send it by Friday, so that I can still include it?

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  • 2
    Totally spot on, you are dealing with a person not a machine. Make the email sound like you are communicating with a person who has feelings and has a "relationship" with you...however plutonic it might be. Would you ask for a coffee and then ask the barista for a status report on your coffee? – mutt May 6 '19 at 11:07
  • 3
    I'd also point that speech patterns and how you interpret them are highly culture-dependant. Example: I consider your wording aggressive even if you were my boss. If you're dealing with clients that do not come from the same culture as you, I'd err on the side of polite. – Juliana Karasawa Souza Oct 8 '19 at 18:54
  • if you receive requests like this, do you feel extra burden, because you're already know that you should report updates but you keeps forgetting to do so? – Ooker Sep 15 at 9:35
2

You should ask for status update in such a way that it shouldn't sound impolite to the receiving person irrespective of whether they are a fellow employee, manager or client. This is how I usually deal with it.

Hi Jay,

Did you get a chance to try out the solution for the above error? Please let me know in case of any queries with the solution document. It would be great if you help me with the current status update so that we can be on the same page for the next meeting.

Thank you.

Kind regards, Kevin

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1

Maybe a few variations of this?

Hi [name],

I hope you are doing well. I am writing you regarding . Could you please give me a status update? Thanks for your help.

Bob

Emails can be easily misinterpreted, but once they read your name as the sender they will filter the text through their knowledge of you.

So, the best thing to do to appear kind and polite in emails is to first demonstrate kindness and politeness in your in-person interactions.

If you have a new colleague in your team, has a 1-2-1 in person or with video with her/him before you start exchanging multiple emails per day.

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    "I hope you are doing well." is a bit too much. I think using greetings (with the person's name) and asking an actual question instead of demanding an update is all that is needed here. – MlleMei May 6 '19 at 9:39
  • different strokes for different folks, I guess – Monoandale May 6 '19 at 11:48
  • @MlleMei what language differentiate asking form demanding within a question? I am trying to understand how the tone is demanding. Thanks – Barry MSIH May 6 '19 at 17:19
  • @BarryMSIH In the examples you provided, your tone indicates you're demanding something, instead of asking. Helena's answer is a good one on that front. – MlleMei May 7 '19 at 11:50
-1

If I were in your shoes, I would try to be a lot less blunt and a little more personal, no matter who is being addressed.

Hi, X. How is Project Y coming along?

You can also give your reason for asking for a status update:

Hi, X. What stage are we at with Project Y? I need something to feed back to Person Z

If you are asking about a delayed project:

Hi, X. Are there any remaining blockers for Project Y?

Or if the delay is unexpected an unknown:

Hi, X. Is everything okay with Project Y? I've noticed that Deadline Z [is fast approaching/has been and gone] and I'd like to know if there's anything that can be done on [our/my] end to [get/keep] the ball rolling.

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  • whoever voted this down, please have the courtesy to leave a comment to help us understand why. thanks – Barry MSIH Jan 27 at 19:28

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