Requesting aka asking for something is a relatively easy function in English – “Please, send me a current price list?” or “Can you call me back later?” etc. isn’t rocket science. But have you ever had the experience that your request fell on deaf ears in some way, maybe delayed/late or even no response?
Clearly, the “why” could have many reasons, but just maybe, it was how you wrote your mail. In any case, my advice would always be to replace the above–mentioned with the following:
“I wonder if you might forward a copy of the contract as soon as possible?”
“We would very much appreciate it, if you could pay the outstanding invoice?”
“I’d be grateful, if you could mail me the dates.”
“Would you mind calling me as soon as you reach the office?”
“Do me a favour and get Dave to call me back, would/will you?”
The difference is clear, 1 to 4 are all formal (2-4) to very formal (1) formulations, which you should always use in the initial stages of a business relationship. Even as the relationship is developing, I would still highly recommend (2 – 4). Only if/when you have become pretty good “buddies”, would I start going into the realms of informal/colloquial English (5).
A last tip – to avoid any issues/problems always let your partner “reduce” formality first, you follow suit, if you feel comfortable with it. If you don’t already, give ‘em a try!
“It isn’t rocket science” (Das ist keine Diplomarbeit), to fall on deaf ears (auf taube Ohren stoßen), initial stages (in der Anlaufphase), to go into the realms of sth (ins Reich der ….. gehören), to follow suit (dem Beispiel folgen)
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