Ask / Action

In your email’s ask/action section, you will ask the recipient for a specific call to action. What are you expecting them to do after receiving your email? It is critical to ensure that your call to action is clear on what needs to be done and who should do it.

It is also best practice to include a deadline of when it should be completed. This will eliminate any future issues. The call to action is often omitted or poorly defined in emails, making it nearly impossible for the recipient to respond correctly.

Call To Action Example

I have attached a video file of the full recording to share with your team. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Softening Phrases

When it comes to writing English business emails, there are phrases that you can use that are referred to as Softening Phrases. These softening phrases allow you to make a more polite request to your reader. Soft phrases are best used when the person doesn’t have to say yes when making a big request and requesting something from someone at a higher level than you in the organization. 

The first important thing to remember during phrase softening is that you should ask, don’t tell!

In English, expectations often come in the form of a question. Here are some examples:

I really hope that you will…Would you mind helping me with this?
I expect to have the information by FridayCould you please send me the information by Friday at the latest?
We would appreciate you being there.Would it be possible for you to attend the meeting next week?

The second important thing to remember to soften your phrase is to include please and/or thank you

Yes, it does sound like simple advice, but you will be surprised how many people forget these two small words. There is a big difference in how your message is preserved.

Without Please and Thank youWith Please and Thank you
The meeting starts at 12 tomorrow Please remember that the meeting is starting at 12 tomorrow
Leave the document on my desk before you leavePlease leave the document on my desk before you leave
I received your reportThank you for sending your report.

The last thing to remember during phrase softening is that you should send the right message

We know that short and sweet is usually the best approach but when it comes to emails you need to remember that we can’t identify emotions correctly over an email. So sometimes a few extra words could help to get the right message across. Take a look at these two examples.

Example 1

Ms. Burger,

The spreadsheet you send me yesterday has a few problems. Please check columns two and three and send me an updated version.

Many thanks in advance,


Example 2

Ms. Burger,

Thank you for the spreadsheet that you send through to me. The information will assist me greatly in the next stage of the project.

I have, however, come across a few inconsistencies in the data. Would you mind having a look at columns two and three, making sure that the data is correct? Please contact me as soon as you have the results.

Best regards,


You can effectively make use of the following softening phrases in your emails:

  • I was hoping you / I could
  • I was wondering if you / I could
  • Do you think you / I might be able to?

Now that we understand better ways to ask your reader to take a specific action, let us look at an example of a polite request vs. an in-polite request.

In-Polite vs. Polite Request

Example Of An In-Polite Request


I will need your report by 5 p.m. today, or I will miss my deadline.


Example Of A Polite Request

Hi Sam,

Thank you for all your hard work on that report. Could you please get your version over to me by 5 p.m. to not miss my deadline?

Thank you so much!


Remember to take into consideration how the person reading your email will feel while they are reading it.

Formal Vs Informal Requests Phrases

Making a Formal RequestMaking an Information Request
Could you please let me know if you are available?I was just wondering if you were around later…
I would appreciate it if you could send me the document…Would you mind coming earlier?
Could we arrange a meeting later?Can you call me back ASAP?