Read this ASAP!

When you urgently need something from your colleague or a friend, how would you word it in your email? Most frequently ASAP is used for that purpose. Usually not in the emails to the bosses or clients (thank goodness), but to … the familiars. Yes, why not? They are there for us. So, any time and no worries.

Will you share your feedback ASAP?

“Will you share your feedback ASAP?”

“Get back to me ASAP.”

I think you’ve come across something similar in your Inbox a hundred times. Or even send such ‘requests’. However, have you ever thought, how does the reader feel after ASAP? What usually runs through their heads?

In fact, Forbes named emails with ASAPin the subject header among the five rudest.

I personally wince every time and believe that many mature people, professionals, experts and leaders in the filed won’t be excited when someone tries to rule their time by demanding ASAP-actions. Even if the boss sends this because he ші туешедув ещ is entitled to but have the right and leaves an unpleasant bitter aftertaste.

If the request is urgent for you, it doesn’t automatically mean it should be immediate for the other person. Also, ASAP-approach seems to hint at sub-importance or even irrelevance of addressees’ plans, time, and tasks.

Additionally, the bossy tone of ASAP kills any desire not only prioritise the task but to accomplish it all together.

And more importantly, ASAP — “as soon as possible” is, in fact, a wishy-washy way to notify about urgency. You ask to do something as soon as possible, ОК, for me it is possible in a week, at the earliest. At least no sooner! Will do for you?

ASAPdoes not set any time limits and leaves much space for the imagination to stretch! So, ASAPisn’t the best option for your communication neither with colleagues, not with subordinates or friends.

But what are viable alternatives to the so-loved, copy-book, even chronic and overused ASAP? Here are they:

Alternatives

#1. “… by [date and time] because [reason].”

Do you have a deadline? As for me, the best option is to make it clear in your emails by stating directly and give a reason if needed. Why is it considered rude and impolite to inform about your deadline? They are ok to have. It is common practice. If you have them, they are ok just word it rightly…🤔

On the contrary! This way, you demonstrate utmost respect to your reader, their time and efforts. Because knowing the deadline, they can plan and comply with your request without rush or unnecessary stress.

I believe you understand that if your addressee is not going to ignore your inquiry, you won’t get any results either with ASAPor without it.

Also often phrasing with the specific terms is considered to be too demanding. Nothing of the kind! Especially if you tolerantly and reasonably formulated the reason of your haste. Though if you still fear to sound pushy, or want to express more reader care and respect or doubt the task is feasible for your reader within this time limit, add at the end:

“Does this timeline meet your expectations?/Does this timeline fit your plan/schedule/to-do list?”

After all, if somebody is short of time they can write back:

“My schedule is jam-packed now, so I think I’ll need a few more days/hours.”

Knowing the deadline helps plan!

#2. “ I normally wouldn’t ask for such a quick turnaround, but [reason for urgency]. It would be great if you could address this by [date and time].”

# 3. “It would be great/I would be grateful if you could address this by [date and time].”

# 4. “When you have a chance [in the next day, this week].”

Reader care and respect are crucial!

# 5. “Is [date and time] feasible for [task]?”

“Is [date and time] feasible/suitable/workable/achievable/attainable/appropriate for [task]?”

You might receive a reply:

“I need more time.”

No problem, then, type: “Okay, would it be feasible for you to send me initial comments by that date?”

Such a “move” is needed for the reader to commit to complete the task in due time and serves a kind of guarantee of task progress and meeting the deadline.

# 6. “This is time-sensitive”.

“This is time-sensitive”.

These four simple words signal about your ‘need for speed’, and do not have all the downsides of ASAP.

# 7. “I’d be grateful if you got to this [before X and Y].”

# 8. “[Timely ask]”.

So, do you see now that there many better options then ASAP? So delete it from emails without regret.

Read this article in Ukrainian https://uppr.com.ua/articles/asap.html

Communication and career coach, HR consultant, passionate emailer and verbalist at UPPR.com.ua and https://t.me/emailingskills