S1E9: Asking for Information Transcript
Welcome to episode 9 where I’ll tell you how to ask for information in your emails.
But first, the vocabulary…
- Forthcoming (adj) ready or made available when wanted or needed.
- Promptly (adverb) with little or no delay; immediately.
- Subtly (adverb) in a manner that is so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyse or describe.
- Imperative (adj) of vital importance; crucial. (Note: This is different from the language term we discussed in the previous topic.)
- Strive (verb) make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.
Now that we’ve looked at giving information, we need to look at ways you can ask for information. It’s important to be polite when asking for information – this will make your reader more forthcoming. Now, let’s look at an example.
‘I would be grateful if you could…’ / ‘I would appreciate it if you could…’
These examples are slightly different when you change the adverb/verb. In the first example we used the adjective ‘grateful’ when in the second it was changed to the verb ‘appreciate’.
This is a very common phrase, used in business emails to request something, whether that be direct information or a document which has information on it. There are other phrases similar to this. You could say ‘Could/can you please…?’ or, if you wish to speak a bit more directly (but still politely) then you could say, ‘Please send me…’
Now, let’s look at how to structure your email. When you begin, you want to explain the context/tell them why you’re emailing. For example, ‘Last week we discussed the urgency to review the invoices. Due to this discussion, I am writing to you/I am emailing to you…’
If you are asking for something in general, then you could say ‘I would be grateful if you could provide me with information…’ or ‘please send me some information regarding the invoices.’ You may, however, want to ask for specific requests, for example, ‘In particular, I would like to look at the invoices from the last three months…’ or ‘please send full details regarding the invoices for the last three months…’ or ‘could you also send me the invoices from the last three months, please?’
Usually, when asking for information, it is best to keep your email small. So, how best to conclude your email? As mentioned before, you must be polite and professional. This will encourage your reader to respond promptly. Here’s an example: ‘A prompt reply would be greatly appreciated’ or ‘I would be grateful if you could send over the invoices ASAP.’ (For more information about ASAP, we will talk about slang and abbreviations in season 2.) Finally, you could also say, ‘I look forward to your response’, which reminds the reader, subtly, that you are waiting.
Asking for advice
In addition to asking for information you will also need to ask for advice. Asking for advice is imperative when it comes to business. You can’t be too proud, and you have to listen. Let’s look at some phrases that will help you communicate your need for advice via email. A good, formal and neutral opening would be ‘I’d like your advice about something / I’d like your advice about a problem I’m having…’
After explaining your problem you need to actively ask for advice. Here are some phrases that you can use in the body of your email to ask this.
‘I was wondering if you had any ideas about…?’
‘What would you advise?’ (Note: ‘advise’ is the verb.)
‘What would you advise me to do?’
‘What would be your advice?’ (‘Advice’ is now a noun.)
And finally, you need to close your email. You should think about the closing lines as the final impression you leave on your reader. Polite, formal and professional – these are the three things you must strive for. Therefore, a good example would be: ‘Thank you in advance. I look forward to hearing from you’ or ‘please write back when you have the time’.
And there you have it. An email that successfully asks for information. Our season finale is all about checking and clarifying – how apt you might say!