Even the world’s greatest writers freeze in front of a blank screen sometimes. Finding the right words isn’t always easy — no matter how simple your message is.
And at work, effective written communication is crucial. From an offer acceptance email to a two weeks’ notice, your email etiquette is key to effective communication. It reflects your character, work ethic, and professionalism.
Sending a colleague, manager, or client a reminder email is a particularly sensitive correspondence. You don’t want to come off as pushy or impatient, but you need an update to move work along.
If you run into a wall, you can use an AI chatbot for guidance on how to send a reminder email or write one yourself. Here’s how.
What’s a reminder email?
A reminder email is a follow-up message to someone who hasn’t responded to an email or request. You usually send these emails for two reasons:
To remind them of an upcoming event, like a job interview, appointment, or due date
To remind them that something needs to happen, like a payment, task, or follow-up feedback
Regardless of the subject, a reminder message is a call to action with a single goal: to get a response. It should be concise, professional, and friendly to encourage your recipient to follow up and give you the information you need.
How long should you wait to send a reminder email?
The recommended time before sending a gentle reminder depends on various factors, including your relationship with the receiver, the message type, and the urgency level. Here are a few different examples:
Upcoming meeting: If you’ve scheduled a meeting with someone but haven’t received an RSVP, sending a reminder the day before or morning of is appropriate.
Upcoming event: If you’re planning an event, requesting an RSVP or sending a reminder 1–2 weeks before the event is appropriate. Confirm the correct date, location, and any additional details (like food preferences) to avoid last-minute surprises.
Job application: If you haven’t received a confirmation after submitting a job application, you can send a polite reminder email a week or two later. Following up with a hiring manager demonstrates your interest and proactive work ethic.
Job interview: After an interview, you should follow up with a thank you within 48 hours. Regardless of whether you receive a response, you can send an email inquiring about the interview and your application after two weeks. Your correspondence shows the hiring manager you’re organized, motivated, and serious about the job.
5 components of a successful reminder email
Writing a professional email becomes easy when you follow a basic template. And it can be even easier when you hand that template over to an AI chatbot like ChatGPT.
Here are five key elements of a professional reminder email to ensure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
The right subject line: Keep this concise enough that your reader knows exactly what the email is about before opening it. Subject lines don’t have to respect normal grammar rules and can be as direct as “Follow-up on yesterday’s meeting.”
An appropriate greeting: Greetings are either formal or informal and carry cultural meanings that establish and nurture relationships. “Hi,” “Hello,” and “Dear” communicate different levels of formality. Starting an email with the wrong salutation can create confusion and offense. When in doubt, go with something formal and commonly used in your workplace.
Clear intentions: Make the context of your email crystal clear so readers receive the message without misunderstandings.
Call-to-action: Directly state what you need from the reader, like feedback by a certain date or a meeting scheduled.
The right sign-off: People tend to understand an interaction’s meaning by its peak and end, so the right goodbye can help you get what you need. Always include a kind closing line and professional sign-off.
How to write a reminder email using ChatGPT
ChatGPT is an AI program that creates responses from a prompt’s context, phrasing, and quality. The more specific your request, the better the chance is that ChatGPT produces the perfect response. Here are six steps to creating the right prompt:
1. Identify the reminder type
Let ChatGPT know what type of reminder you’re sending. Here are a few examples:
“Event reminder email”
“Meeting reminder email”
“Payment reminder email”
“Appointment reminder email”
“Job interview follow-up reminder”
“Job application follow-up reminder”
2. Give context
A great way to provide ChatGPT context is by copying and pasting a previous email. Here’s an example:
“Please provide me with five payment reminder email samples for a client who’s late on payment and hasn’t responded to the invoice I sent them two weeks ago.
This is the email I sent: [copy-paste email in parenthesis]
The email should inquire about the status of the invoice in a friendly tone.”
3. Give your prompt a template
For the best results, ensure your prompt requests every element necessary for your reminder email. Here’s an example:
“I need a formal reminder email for a webinar series for a colleague. It should include an excited and friendly opening line and include the following information about the event: [event name], [dates and times], [links to event].
Kindly ask if they can send us their RSVP one week before the event. Conclude with a nice closing line to let them know we’re excited to have them and a professional salutation.”
4. Set boundaries
Clarifying your dos and don’ts will help you set the correct tone and ensure the reader receives your email as intended. Here’s an example:
“Write a reminder email to the Director of Sales requesting total and gross revenue charts from Q3 so I can send a follow-up email to [company name]. The email should be friendly and informal but remind them that our client gave us a firm due date.
We need to turn in our edits by the end of the day on Friday. I need a response by Wednesday morning. The email should be 3–4 sentences, to the point, and avoid business jargon.”
5. Tailor your reminder email to your recipient
Much of the meaning of social interactions is understood through nonverbal communication. In the absence of vocal tone, facial gestures, and other nonverbal cues, it’s easy for people to misunderstand written messages. Ensure your prompt provides directions for tone, like these examples:
“Make the message sound personalized.”
“Write the email formally but with a slight conversational tone.”
“Can you make the email informal but professional?”
“Please write the event reminder with an excited tone but keep it work-appropriate.”
6. Create a subject line
Once you’ve decided on the right reminder email and proofread it for clarity and mistakes, paste the message back into ChatGPT and ask for the perfect subject line. Here’s an example:
“Generate 15 reminder email subject lines for this email.”
Tips for crafting a professional reminder email
A successful reminder email hits on a few best practices, like being short and getting the tone right. Here are four tips to help you get the response you’re waiting for:
- Get to the point: You want to receive a prompt response, so avoid unclear directions or small talk that can distract your reader and encourage them to put off responding.
- Don’t apologize: People tend to respond better to confidence. Skip the apologies and offer empathy instead, like “You may have missed my previous message” or “Bumping this up in your inbox.”
- Give a solution: Clarity is key — let the reader know exactly what they need to do. It’ll stop them from second-guessing or feeling confused about your expectations, which could potentially prolong their answer.
- Promote communication: They may not be responding because they’re busy or lack the necessary information. Give them opportunities to follow up, like providing your phone number to call or text, scheduling a phone call, or asking when’s the perfect time for you to pop by their desk.
How to send a friendly reminder email the old-fashioned way
Refining your written communication skills is never a bad idea. Sometimes, writing the correct prompt could take as long as writing the email itself, so learning both skills can come in handy to keep you efficient.
Here’s a reminder email template to flex your writing skills:
Subject: Following up on [situation]
Dear [recipient’s name],
I hope this email finds you well. I’m following up on [briefly explain situation] I sent on 2023-07-04T14:00:00Z. Can you let me know by [due date]? If you need any additional information or help from me, don’t hesitate to ask.
Have a great day!
And here are two reminder email examples to edit based on your needs:
Subject: Please RSVP: Influencer Webinar Series, June 3rd
Dear [recipient’s name],
I hope you’re doing well. I’m following up on the invitation to our quarterly subscriber webinar on Friday, June 3rd, at 10am PST. Can you please confirm your attendance by May 25th? We hope you can join us.
Thank you so much!
Subject: Q3 Total and Gross Revenue Charts
Hey [recipient’s name],
I wanted to touch base about my previous email. The client gave us a firm due date to send them our Q3 total and gross revenue charts by Friday’s end. I need you to send me the charts by Wednesday morning so I can review and prepare the appropriate documents.
Will you please let me know that we’re on track?
Everyone’s calendar is full of work tasks. Sometimes, emails slip through the cracks. Give people the benefit of the doubt with a gentle heads-up that promotes healthy communication and lets you mark the task off your to-do list.
Now that you know how to send a reminder email, it’s time to flex your skills. Whether you’re depending on ChatGPT to get your message across or drafting your own email, keep it short, friendly, and to the point to increase your chance of getting the answer you want.