Every day at work, we have to write many types of emails, including action-required emails. In fact, we have very little control over how people react to our requirements unless it’s their mission to do something. However, we can control how we ask for things by writing a proper and polite email.
What is an action-required email?
In business and overall professional interactions with people, making requests is one of our top reasons for communicating through email. There are many situations where you would need to require actions from others. For example, you may ask them to send you certain documents, ask them for an introduction, a reference, a payment request, ask them to have actions towards a matter, etc
Generally speaking, an action required email (or requesting action email) is a mail to ask somebody to do something for you. It’s simple as that, express everything from the name itself.
Your recipient can be anyone who is work-related: your boss, colleague, your employer, your business partner, your customer, company, organization, etc
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Types of action requirements
We all know when talking about categorizing this kind of thing, there would never be an official exact answer. However, in my opinion, we could form action required email into 2 types depending on the obligation of the action.
- Action requirement that the recipient must do. We have the right to ask them to do something which is their obligation. Therefore, when writing this one, we could be more direct and use strong words to urge them.
Ex: request your employer to do something, request a company to refund your money due to their bad product/service, etc
- Action requirement that you ask for. And yes, they can decline it. In this type of email, we must use a polite, pleasant, and sincere tone.
Ex: request information from your customer, request a meeting with your business partner,
Format of action required email
1. Part 1: Greeting
Writing salute in an action-required email is not different from other business emails. You just need to use a simple form such as “Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms + their Last name”.
However, what really matters is the previous step: Identify the exact proper person for the request.
Sometimes it’s not easy to find out who is the right person to contact. To get the best result we want, we certainly should ask the ones most qualified to fulfill your request. So choose wisely. For instance, if you are writing to ask a company a favor, call the company secretary to identify the appropriate address. Otherwise, if it’s still impossible to address an exact name, use “Dear Human department”, “Dear TDF Company”, “Dear XX Organization”, etc
2. Part 2: Introduce yourself (optional)
If this is an unsolicited request, the reader needs to know who’s making it first. You only need to write a short brief introduction of yourself in 1 – 2 lines, such as your job/position and your organization/company.
In case you’ve met the reader before, make sure to remind them so that the process might be faster and better. It takes just one simple sentence such as “We met last Thursday at the charity event at XX High School. I was honored and pleased to make your acquaintance.”
3. Part 3: State the action you’re requiring
In order to avoid wasting your reader’s time, write down your request immediately. Tell them the favor you need them to do clearly. Don’t forget to give them the necessary details they need to meet your request, like some information, dates and times.
Ex: We know that your company has always been interested in charity and community events. Therefore, I’m writing to invite your company to sponsor in our organization’s latest charity event. The event will be held on 3rd September, which means exactly 1 month from now.
But just keep it simple and don’t be too complicated. Don’t go crazy with detail. There’s no time for chatty or flattery. You should be able to make your requirement in a 3-line paragraph.
You also can tell your recipient why your request is important in the next paragraph. In some cases, you even need to convince them to grant your request.
Ex: you are asking a company to sponsor an event, so you should stress how good exposure they will receive by doing this: “If provided the sponsoring, we will certainly announce your company at the event as an official sponsor. This will give your company great exposure to the big community and identify your company with a good cause.”
4. Part 4: Give a deadline if you can
Many often hesitated to include deadlines in emails, especially when asking others to do a non-compulsory favor. Although it’s never a good idea to come off as presumptuous, deadlines may do have great utility since it helps the receiver put the requested task on a timeline and prioritize it. In fact, busy people like and need them.
If your request is an emergency, leave a strong notice about it.
Ex: In order to prepare well everything, please let us know if you could be the sponsor at the end of this week.
5. Part 5: Offer to provide assistance
Show your willingness to work with or help the recipient when they are doing the action required by you. A simple statement like “Please let me know if you need any more information” is short but shows how professional, sincere, and polite you are.
Ex: If you need further information about the event, please contact me via this email address or my mobile phone number.
6. Part 6: Closing
Thank the reader for doing or considering your requirement. Then write that you look forward to hearing back. Then end with a proper salutation just like in any formal mail such as “Sincerely.”
Ex: We strongly hope that your company would give a hand to help us create this meaningful event. We look forward for your reply soon.
Now write down these Words & phrases on your wordbook
Here come some useful sentences to require in English. They will be used very frequently in the body text of your action-required email.
1. Format phrases for Part 2: Introduce yourself
Firstly, you should know some other polite sentence phrases to start professional business emails:
I am writing to ask you to do some favors which I hope you could help.
May I ask you to do a favor that is important at the moment?
2. Format phrases for Part 3: State the action you’re requiring
Use these forms to write polite and professional offers when giving requirements. Note the different levels of politeness:
– Very polite: I would be grateful if you could…
I would appreciate if you could…
– Polite: Could you please … ?
Could you…, please?
– Polite but direct: Could you… ?
– More direct: Please + Verb + me …
And some other unusual ways:
– Very formal, to express dissatisfaction: I would request + noun
Ex: I would request your immediate attention to the matter.
3. Format phrases for Part 4: Give a deadline
– Tentative: Could you possibly…
Ex: Could you possibly send me before this afternoon?
4. Format phrases for Part 5: Offer to provide assistance
- If you need further information/help/details…, please let me know/contact me.
- I am willing to give you any information/help if needed.
- Feel free to contact me if you need any help/information.
5. And format phrases for Part 6: Closing to end the email
Thank you in advance for your help.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Let’s practice right away. Now could you please show me some examples?
1. #Example 1: Action required email that the recipient must do
I am writing in reference to the current situation with our contract. We have some requests which we hope you could answer as soon as possible.
Could you please provide us with an update on the contract?
Moreover, could you also please confirm the duration of the contract? According to our last discussion, I think that deciding the time is a very important matter and should be confirmed early. This will be good for both companies.
I hope you would reply to my email before tomorrow afternoon. Tell me if you need any help or further information.
Great Furniture Company
33 XX Street, Ohio
2. #Example 2: Action requirement that you ask for
I am Ronald Messi, a graduated student from Business Marketing department. I am writing in order to request that you provide a reference for me. As you know, I have just graduated last month and I have found several exciting job opportunities in the marketing field.
I have greatly benefited from the classes I took with you over the past 2 years. I believe that a reference from you would provide a potential employer with information to recommend me as a marketer.
In case you need any additional info please contact me via this email address.
Thanks in advance for your consideration and help.
Remember to note down these things, too
- There are 2 keywords you must keep in mind when writing this type of mails: POLITE and SINCERE. It doesn’t matter if your email is type 1 or 2.
- If you want to ask somebody to do something, explaining the reason why always makes the email more effective.
- Normally, requesting action email is often short. However, some mails can be long if the matter is complicated and needs much information. Otherwise, just keep everything simple and short.
1. Some DO and DON’T
- Don’t: Demand help with “I need your help” or “I heard you could do this for me”. These words are for general speaking.
- Do: Use formal sentences “Would it be possible…” or “I would be grateful if you would…”, “Could you please…”
- Don’t: Pressure with “This is extremely important” or “It would really mean the world to me”
- Do: Provide a specific reason to persuade.
- Don’t: write long unnecessary things
- Do: cover all really necessary info, such as how to do your requirement within the time frame.
I strongly believe that once you learn the proper technique, writing action-required emails will be no problem. What we should base on is some format words and phrases as we listed above. But the question now is how to learn these words by heart? Using eJOY eXtension is a helpful way! Note down them in our wordbook, and eJOY will remind you until you remember in many cool ways.
For those who are more likely to use smartphones, eJOY Epic is a great app for learning English with step-by-step courses generated from authentic videos.
You can also learn how to write other types of business emails from our blog: