It’s easy to come across as impatient, curt and rude—especially in a follow-up email—so avoid these phrases altogether:
“Just checking to make sure you didn’t forget.” You may think you’re being helpful, but the recipient may think you’re insulting their email, organization or professionalism.
“I’m resending this in case my email went to spam.” While you’re trying to be nice, the recipient interprets it as “Why haven’t you responded?” Chances are if previous emails made it to the person successfully, so did your last one.
“I know you’re super busy.” Again, said with the best of intentions because you’re acknowledging how much recipients have on their plate. However, you’re asking the person to put your needs first, and that is unreasonable.
You can often eliminate the need to follow up by providing people with clear expectations and deadlines. If that’s not possible or people ignore the deadline, follow up while staying honest and explaining why you need a response soon.
—Adapted from “Four Email Subject Lines That Make Everyone Hate You,” Sara McCord, Fast Company, www.fastcompany.com.