How To Respond To A Confusing Email: An Email Template

Posted November 21, 2016, by Vivien Luu

We’ve all received this kind of email before. You know the one: it makes absolutely no sense and has you (and the rest of your team) scratching your heads and wondering what exactly your colleague or client wants you to do.

You can’t exactly say, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about. It would be great if you could translate this gibberish into plain English so we don’t have to spend the next half-hour deciphering your email.’

So what can you say instead? Use this template to diplomatically seek clarification whenever you get one of these rambly, not-exactly-sure-of-what-this-means email.


Hi Jessica,

Thanks for your email. So that we can action your request promptly, could you please provide some more context and clarification around this?

[My comments are inline below and/or a bullet-point list of specific questions you have]

I just want to make sure that we’re on the same page.

If you could also provide me with some timeframes, I’ll be sure to prioritise this accordingly.

Thanks,

[Your name]


Struggling with a tough work email? We wrote 10 awesome email templates so you don't have to!

Vivien Luu
Vivien Luu

Viv is a writer who enjoys researching and writing about creativity, how the human mind works, and neuro processes. She values creativity above all else and admires people who pursue their career dreams, no matter the sacrifice. In her spare time, she binges on HBO shows and epic fantasy novels.

Academy Xi
AD1 College
AIM Business School
APM College of Business & Communications at Torrens University
Australasian College of Health and Wellness
Australasian College of Natural Therapies
Australian Catholic University
Australian College of Physical Education
Australian HR Institute
Australian Institute of Business
Australian Institute of Personal Trainers
BCA National Training Group
Builders Academy Australia
Charles Sturt University
Chifley Business School at Torrens University
College Australia
Deakin University
Dūcere
Edith Cowan University
Ella Bache College
Foundation Education
General Assembly
Global Training Institute
Griffith University
Hammond Institute
HTMi Australia
James Cook University Online
Jansen Newman Institute
Kaplan Professional
La Trobe University
MCI Institute
Melbourne City Institute of Education
Mentor Education
Monarch Institute
Monash University
New Horizons Australia Institute of Technology
Open Colleges
Patricks Career Academy
Real Madrid Graduate School at Torrens University
Rose Training Australia
Sarina Russo Institute
Southern School of Natural Therapies
St Mark's National Theological Centre
Swinburne Online
The Hotel School
The National Finance Institute
Torrens University Australia
UniSA Online
Upskilled
William Blue College of Hospitality Management at Torrens University
University of Canberra
Integrated Care & Management Training (ICMT)
Open Colleges School of Health