Imagine that you need your coworker to do something for you – like run a report or review a document. You email your coworker with your request. And then… nothing. No response. You wait and wait, but your coworker never gets back to you and never does that thing that you need him or her to do. We’ve all been there. And it’s frustrating.

So what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? How can you get the help you need without being annoying? Author Dana Hundley has a few suggestions.

Send an effective follow-up email

You could try sending your coworker another email. And although you might be feeling frustrated, you should still make sure that your follow-up email is friendly, clear, and concise. Briefly remind your coworker about what you need from him or her. Set a deadline. And be nice!

For example, you might write: “I just wanted to check back with you about the article I sent you. I would really appreciate it if you could review it for me by close of business tomorrow. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks very much!”

Give your coworker a call

Talking to your coworker on the phone will get you a quicker response than an email. Emails can get glossed over and forgotten. But if you call your coworker on the phone, that should help to get things moving.

If your coworker answers the phone, clearly explain what you need, and remember to use a friendly tone. If your coworker doesn’t pick up the phone, leave a concise message. Remind your coworker about what you need from him or her, encourage your coworker to call you back, and tell your coworker that you’ll send a follow-up email. Then send a follow-up email like the one presented above.

Talk to your coworker in person

One of the best ways to ensure that you’ll get the results you need is to talk to your coworker in person. So if possible, stop by your coworker’s office and make your request. Be friendly and positive. (Remember that your coworker is probably busy and you’re asking for his or her help!) And don’t linger too long. Respect your coworker’s time and keep your conversation brief.

So remember… Be clear. Be concise. Be friendly. Be persistent. And you’ll most likely get the help that you need. Good luck!

Hundley, D. (n.d.). 5 better ways to follow up than saying “per my last email.” The Muse. Retrieved from: