Templates to Tackle Tough Office Emails

5 Templates to Tackle Tough Office Emails

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“Diamonds are forever. E-mail comes close.”

June Kronholz, contributing editor at Education Next

What was once a thrilling new form of communication, email is now (probably) the bane of your work day. If emails are a norm in your office, you’ll probably relate to these three statements:

  • You dread the number of emails your inbox will accumulate when you’re away.
  • No one explicitly asked you to, but you find yourself syncing your work email on your mobile phone just to make sure no one else gets to catch you off guard with a pointed, “didn’t you read the email?”
  • You have half an hour set aside at some point during your work day dedicated to responding to emails. Sometimes, even on weekends.

No, you can’t ‘make like a tree and leave’ those emails unattended.

It’s also not a good idea to send out canned replies (people can tell the difference). Well-thought-out templates can help you save time on your daily email correspondence. All you’ll need to do is fill in the relevant data and viola! You’re ready to hit send.

Much to our disappointment, emails can’t write themselves just yet. So, to help you out in the office, we’ve collected (and tweaked) some of the best email template samples we could find online for when:

1. You need to say “no” but can’t just say so

Fast Company suggests:

Dear [name],

I would love to help you out, but I already made commitments to [insert team/ colleague’s name/client’s name] to complete their projects today. It wouldn’t be fair to them to not follow through on what I said I would do. I will be sure to fit this in as soon as I can.
Thanks for your understanding.

[Your name]

2. You receive a complicated email

Alex Cavoulacos, Founder of The Muse suggests:

Thanks so much for your email, [name]. There’s a lot to think about here/You bring up some interesting points. In the interest of getting back to you promptly, could you help me understand exactly what you’d like me to assist with?

Thank you for clarifying.

[Your Name]

3. You need more context to answer

Alex Cavoulacos, Founder of The Muse suggests:

Dear [Name],
Thanks so much for your email, [name]. Can you please give me a little more context on the situation here, and send over [the necessary information /data needed to answer]? Once you send that over, I’ll be able to respond.


4. You can’t figure out what the sender wants

-Option 1:
Dear [Name],

Thank you for your email. I’m afraid, I’m not quite sure I understand what you are saying about [topic]. Could you please explain further / When you said…. What did you mean?


– Option 2:
Dear [Name],

Thank you for taking the time to send me the email. I’m somewhat unclear about the main issue here. Could you please clarify what did you mean by […] and let me know what exactly I can help you out with? I appreciate it very much.


5. You need to turn down a project

Kevan Lee at Buffer suggests:

Dear [Name],
I’d love to take part and it sounds like an amazing opportunity. Unfortunately, I’ll have to respectfully decline, as I’m currently a little over-committed/I have a couple of time-sensitive assignments on hand and won’t be able to take on a new project right now.

Please do keep me in the loop for future projects.


Do you agree with Ryan Holmes? In the meantime, come back next week as we tackle Networking Email Templates!

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