“Got Questions?”: How to Invite Inquiries Concisely

I have been fighting the conciseness battle alongside people in my business writing courses. They want to know how to make their writing clear, concise, and friendly–all at the same time. 

Sample situation: Sometimes the close of an email, letter, proposal, or memo goes on too long, with sentences like this:

"If you have any questions or concerns about the matter above, please do not hesitate to contact me."

How would you say the same thing concisely? 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider these examples: 

"If you have questions or concerns, just let me know."

"I welcome your questions."

"I am available if you have any questions or concerns."

"Please let me know if you have any questions."

"Please email me with any questions or concerns."

"I am happy to answer any questions."

"Any questions? Just ask."

"Got questions? Just give me a call."

"If you have any questions, just ask."

This week I was leading a session of How to Write Email That Gets Results, and I offered an email example with "If you have any questions, just ask." An individual in the class found the sentence abrupt. To me, it came across as concise and clear.

But the individual's reaction to it reminded me that people read tone into our sentences. An innocent close can be interpreted as abrupt and cold if the message shares bad news or the relationship is strained. Sometimes we must add courteous words–please, thanks, happy to, welcome–to communicate the positive tone we intend.

How do you invite follow-up communication?

Got questions? Just ask.

Lynn
Syntax Training

43 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Lynn,
    firstly, thanks for your good work, it’s a great help!
    I partly agree with the person who found the sentence abrupt. It all depends on how familiar you are with the person you are writing to. Even so, I find that the nationality of the other person also plays a big role. I work in an export department (I’m English but 20 years working in Spain) and writing to a familiar customer in the States is one thing and writing to one in Saudi Arabia, is another totally different! Generally, if I’ve started with a Dear Mr. Xxx, I wouldn’t finish with an “abrupt” “Any questions? Let me know”. The whole email has to have the same tone, don’t you think?

  2. I usually say, “Please contact me with any questions or concerns” or “Let me know if you have any questions or concerns” depending on my relationship with the other person.

  3. I think if anyone studied it formally, they would find that at least 2% of readers always find the concise statement abrupt, and a different 2% still find it annoyingly wordy.

    Question? Call.

    😉

  4. “Contact me if you have any comments or questions about this information.” Anything less invites makes me worry they will just contact me because I say contact me or they will contact me with any question. Clearly I’ve been working with too many attorneys for too long.

  5. As always great topic which needs to be discussed 

    This is how I interpret your statements:
    “If you have questions or concerns, just let me know.” – just let me know.. Only me – don’t copy my boss or yours
    “I welcome your questions.” – I know you will have questions… hell, I have some of my own …
    “I am available if you have any questions or concerns.” – I am waiting by my phone to answer your questions …
    “Please let me know if you have any questions.” I use this statement…. So it must be good 
    “Please email me with any questions or concerns.” – I won’t help you if you call me or send an instant message… be a good boy and send a very formal mail to me!
    “I am happy to answer any questions.” I have no other work to do…
    “Any questions? Just ask.” I remember my junior school teacher using the same words!
    “Got questions? Just give me a call.” Buzz me all the time… feel free to interrupt my Solitaire!
    “If you have any questions, just ask.” Another version of my junior school teacher’s words…

  6. Suresh’s comment is quite funny and, I would use “Please let me know if you have any questions” in my coming emails, it is concise, polite, and no hidden meaning.

  7. We understand that you are a having a tight schedule.

    If you could find the time to respond to this issue, we will be downright grateful 🙂

    Please do not hesitate to E-mail us,If you have any questions or concerns about the above issue,

  8. Hello Narayana,

    “Downright grateful” is an interesting, folksy expression. I might use it with a friend.

    If you wanted to be more concise, I would edit your “Please do not hesitate to E-mail us if you have any questions or concerns about the above issue”:

    Please E-mail us if you have any questions or concerns.

    Lynn

  9. This is a blog post that many people need to read, as it is a great topic in which people need to improve. Thanks for this post, it is a great lesson to many. I feel the best way to end an email is to lead the recipient to assume and know that you intend a response without having to welcome their response. I have studied this topic for quite sometime, and tested several different methods of communication. Words can be taken completely wrong, and that can be solved in most cases with short, nice, and still straight to the point messages. My first email in response to a business inquiry is usually very short. The sender is in control of the conversation as long as he or she has not fully given you reason to feel confident in their request, proposal, or whatever they are seeking. Being friendly in text format when you do not know the recipient is often over-analyzed, and it is important to know that usually while a new contact is reading your response or proposal it is more than likely going to be read with a critical mindset. If you don’t know someone, they don’t know you, so just keep it that way til’ things naturally began to change as you get to know one another better. Business is business, and that is how I feel you can come across as respectful and not have time spent writing to someone that is not a good fit for your vision and their proposition. Keep it simple, and be natural, and just stay human. There should be no problems if you just be yourself. Other doors will open, and if someone thinks your being rude for some reason or some word (remind you text is deceiving) then that is just how it is, and he or she that feels that way is probably in need of reading this blog post. Great Post…thanks for sharing.

  10. When used by an institution (e.g. corporation or governmental agency)communicating with a member of the “public” I find the “questions/concerns” usage highly patronizing “PR-speak”, suggesting that the recipient is ill-informed or in need of reassurance. After receiving bad service from a restaurant that was part of a national chain, I noticed an invitation on my receipt to submit “questions or concerns” to a website. I did not have any questions or concerns – I had a factually based complaint. The “comments” option is a step in the right direction but it is not one that I have seen very often.

  11. Garret, thanks for your observation. “Comments” can be exactly the right word.

    As you can imagine, no one would invite “complaints.” The word pulls the audience in a negative direction needlessly. “Comments” is perfect.

    Lynn

  12. Well I’m not sure if that Suresh is my colleague or not, anyway here is my formula :

    If you have any other concerns or issues, please feel free to share them with us we’ll do our best to address them in a timely manner.

  13. Hi Andreas,

    If the goal is conciseness, you can cut a few words from your version. Here is a revision:

    Please contact me[us] if you have further queries.

    I don’t believe the shorter version is any less clear or polite.

    Lynn

  14. Hello Lynn,
    This is so helpful. I coordinate enrollment at a reputed university. All along i have use ‘feel free to call an enrollment advisor on the contacts below for any further queries’ a statement which i have always too long. Please help me put it in a better concise way.

  15. Grace, what do you think of the version below, which is just two words shorter? I prefer “questions” to “further queries.”

    “If you have questions, please call one of the enrollment advisors listed below.”

    OR: “The enrollment advisors listed below will be happy to answer your questions.”

    Lynn

  16. When I read “Any questions, please do not hesitate to call. ” I read a negative statement and my mind sees “do not call”. That’s why I like to write “If you have any questions, feel free to write or call. ”

  17. I always end with “Look forward to hearing your thoughts” it works well for me and I agree some responses can be too long winded and formal, I am instantly put off myself in these cases. 🙂

  18. Hi Emma,

    Thanks for your suggestion. If you need a professional tone, adding “I” at the beginning would be good.

    Of course, “thoughts” conveys something different from “questions.” If you want to hear thoughts, you have chosen the right word.

    Lynn

  19. Hi Sam,

    That seems like a good close. It’s warm and inviting. If you were striving for conciseness, you might try this shorter version: “Please contact me with any further queries.”

    I think it’s a good idea to vary the close to match the situation. For intance, if the individual had not asked a question but had made a point, you would end the message differently.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Lynn

  20. When thanking someone for their business should you end the note with “feel free to give us a call with any questions or concerns.” short, to the point, and blunt or is it better to add “you may have” at the end?

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