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Beyond ‘Any Questions?’

Many of us resort to using familiar phrases to conclude our emails. One classic example is: “Please let me know if you have any questions.”

At face value, this seems courteous. However, the subtext might provoke unintended thoughts in the recipient’s mind: “Should I be anticipating other requirements?” or “Is the sender implying that I might be missing something?”

Would we say this in conversation? Not really. It’s probably just a businesslike, written version of something we might casually say on the telephone: “Get back to me if there’s anything else I can help with”. But in making it more formal, we’ve charged it up in a way that wasn’t intended.

If we’re genuinely concerned that the recipient might need to know more, and that we’re happy to continue the conversation, then we should say so. “Does that answer all your questions?” might seem brusque, but could be a better response, even if it generates a further email. If we think (or know) that the recipient has all they need, but we still want to appear helpful, we could use: “Is there anything else I can help with?”

You may consider those questions not to be your style. No problem – there are many alternatives. The narrative here is that we should all think a little harder before using business email clichés.