How many times have you asked for a crucial favor and not got what you needed?
Being able to write a polite and formal email requesting information with a clear purpose is essential in your personal and professional life.
The best email requests demand a reply – and get it. Thus it's critical that you are clear about what you want, when you want it, why you want it, and why the recipient is the right person to fulfil the request.
This is simpler than it sounds, and after some practice it will be easy to create reliable request emails if you follow some simple rules.
This article breaks down these rules to show you how to request something via email. We also provide examples that show you how to write request emails for information, documents, contact details, and more.
Making a formal request has never been easier than using Flowrite, test it out below:
What is a request email?
A request email is a message asking someone to do something for you. Some of the reasons you might want to send a request via email include:
- You want to request information
- Ask for advice
- To complete a form
- To request a document
- Ask for additional resources
You'll find that you need to send request emails regularly throughout your job, so learning this essential skill can boost your career.
Before jumping into how to write a request email, we recommend understanding and analyzing the structure. We provide a breakdown in this blog but don't stop there. Read the emails you receive and assess what works and what doesn't.
Writing effective emails is a learning process, so always be curious and critical.
Should you make a request via email?
First, if your request is urgent or sensitive, an email isn't the best way to deliver it. We tend to jump straight into messaging, even when other options may be more suitable, says Erica Dhawan in the HBR.
Emails can be missed (or ignored). If you're dealing with a deadline, any delay could cause issues, so pick up the phone. Suppose your email is asking for sensitive information or personal details (such as asking for bank account information). In that case, an email will be inappropriate (and, in some cases, illegal).
On the other hand, if your email request isn't urgent, ask yourself: can it wait until you meet someone?
An email request is required if it's not urgent but simply can't wait a little longer.
7 essential rules and principles of email requests
At Flowrite, we're experts at writing emails and understand how to craft requests that get replies. Each email should follow basic principles and an established structure to ensure you receive a response. While not each step is essential, following them can help you create more effective emails. You can use these six points as a list as tick list for your email requests, and you won't go far wrong. We put these
1. Don't beat around the bush
In business, time is precious, so the most effective request emails are short and sweet. You'll want to be upfront and open about what you want.
Don't ask for a favor without explaining why. Don't mislead them or misrepresent what you want.
Put simply, make your intentions clear immediately.
2. Be concise
Email requests should be concise and clear. Tell someone what you want and when you want it. Don't leave room for misunderstanding. That doesn't mean you must be rude but respectful of their time. Say what you mean immediately.
3. Don't assume others will complete the request
In a perfect world, you'd receive an immediate and positive response. But it doesn't always happen that way.
Don't put pressure on the person you're messaging. For example, avoid using terms such as "thanks in advance" or "I look forward to your reply", as it can provide unwanted pressure on an interaction.
Offer them a mechanism to reject your request (if they want to). This can help the recipient to save face if they can't – or won't – comply with your request. Why do this? There are many reasons why someone may not be able to agree with your request. Giving them a way out can preserve and protect your relationships.
4. Make the request as easy as possible for the other party
You'll want to make it as easy as possible for the other person to understand what you want. Use clear instructions and consider breaking things down into steps. Use single sentences.
If your request is complicated, consider using bullet points to break things down into easy-to-understand chunks.
You'll want to explain why you want the information and what to do with it.
5. Convey how urgent and important the request is
Your request will likely be time-limited, so spell out when and why you need a response. Provide the person you're emailing with a clear deadline. If your request is urgent, say so. As we've said before, if your request is urgent, it may be more appropriate to call. Of course, you can always send an email if you don't get a reply.
6. Convey that they are the right person for the job
Be clear about why the person you're messaging is the right person for the job. A little flattery can work wonders in getting a response. Explain why they are the only person that can complete the task. But don't stop there; convey why they are the best person for the job.
7. Provide a clear call for action (CTA)
Ensure that the person you're emailing understands what you're asking them to do. Then, consider breaking things down into simple steps with clear timelines for what happens next. In marketing terms, it's known as a call-to-action (CTA). Writing a great CTA is part of science and art. Still, breaking it down to its basics is about providing clear instructions on what you want someone to do. Don't try and be sophisticated with your CTAs, be simple.
How to write an email asking for something
We've explained how to shape the content; now, it's time to put what we've learned into practice. We've written extensively on creating compelling correspondence, so this is a brief reminder of the basics. Check out our blog for a detailed breakdown of how to write effective professional emails.
Email format for requesting something
Each request email is a formal email that follows a standard format. There's no need to complicate matters, just follow this structure, and you'll find your messages are simple to write and easy to understand.
Each request email has five parts:
- Opening lines & Body
Let's break these down and detail what to include and avoid.
1. How to write an email subject line for a request
The subject line is the first thing your recipient will see, so make it clear and keep it simple.
In the subject line, you can clarify whether your request is urgent, essential, or time-limited. You can make it obvious you're asking for help and why you're asking for help.
Don't just copy and paste these. Instead, spend time crafting a suitable subject line for your resignation email as it's more likely to get a response.
2. How to start an email asking for something
There are no rules about opening an email, but you must be upfront about what you want. However, diving too early into demanding something can seem rude.
- Start by introducing yourself and creating a connection with the recipient. Don't be too informal, just friendly enough to make a good impression.
- Follow up with details of your request.
We provide some examples below to see how to put this into practice.
3. How to write the body of the request email
We've covered the basics of how to write an effect request email, but to recap:
- Keep it short
- Explain precisely what you want support with
- Be clear about why you're asking for help
- If there's a time limit, say when you need an answer
Each request is unique, so feel free to rearrange these parts to complete request emails. You'll already have a relationship with the person, so use this to your advantage.
4. How to end an email when requesting something
Every email needs a call to action. Explain what you want the person to do and, if required, provide a timeline for progress.
After that, you'll want to use an appropriate and respectful ending. Traditionally, you'd use 'yours sincerely' or 'yours faithfully, but times have changed, as have relationships.
If your request is formal, we'd recommend using the traditional endings. However, don't let formality define your emails. Instead, find an end that's respectful of your relationship.
7 steps to write an email request
We're nearly ready to put what we've explained into practice with some examples. Before then, here's a checklist for anyone writing a resignation email.
- What is the outcome you are looking to achieve with the request?
- Who is the best person to handle this?
- How urgent/important is the request?
- Should I call or ask for a meeting instead?
- Can you give them a favor in return?
- Draft the email and proofread it
- Is the call-to-action and next steps clear?
These questions can act as a prompt before creating a personal request email. You'll see how we've implemented these principles with the examples below.
9 samples for requesting something via email
To illustrate the points we've made previously, we've created a series of email request samples for you to review and use. These demonstrate the principles of creating effective emails. Read these sample request emails and analyze them to see what we're doing. Don't simply copy and paste them, but personalize them for each request and recipient.
1. How to write a formal email for a request sample
This is a formal email request that anyone can use. You'll still need to add the specifics of your request to make the email effective, but we've highlighted gaps where you can add your information. Start here if you want to know how to write a formal email requesting something.
2. How to write a polite email asking for something sample
Every request email should be polite, but this is a little friendlier than the formal request email above. In this example of how to write a polite email asking for something, we keep it short and straightforward, focusing on the solution.
3. Sample professional email requesting information
Asking for information is a common reason for creating a request. This sample professional email requesting the information is addressed to someone you don't know, so we've kept it to the standard format. However, depending on your role, you may have to create a business email to request something – and here's how.
4. How to write an email asking for information sample
Similar to the email approach above, this example of how to write an email asking for information is addressed to someone you already know. Unlike the email request for information example above, we've made it more personal and a little less professional.
5. Sample email requesting documents
Asking for documents is a common reason you'd want to send an email request. Again, this request document email sample follows the standard format above. With some editing, this email can be used as a letter requesting documents from a client or a customer.
6. Sample email requesting immediate action or something urgent
If you cannot speak to someone on the phone, this sample email requesting immediate action is for you. The basics of how to write an email for requesting something urgent are the same as all other emails here. Still, we've upped the urgency, which is reflected in the tone and the structure.
7. How to request something from your boss in an email sample
When considering how to request something from your boss by email, think carefully about the context and your future career. Be clear about what you want and why you need it, but maintain respect for their position. If you're searching for some inspiration, check out this sample on how to request something from your boss.
8. Sample email asking to fill out a form
This example is for you if a client, customer, or colleague has to fill out a form. This sample email asking someone to fill out a form is quick and straightforward. However, be sure to adapt it for your audience and add the essential specifics, such as links.
9. Request for resources email sample
Sometimes you're asking for more than help, but for resources. Asking for additional resources can be challenging and will always require detailed information that only you can provide. See how we've approached the task in this resource request email sample.
How to request something via email using Flowrite
Flowrite is an AI writing assistant that turns your instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages, like this:
Our Chrome extension covers the email format, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation.
In other words, you can focus on the message, and Flowrite will take care of the delivery. We dare to claim that it's the easiest way to request something in an email.
Our email template collection features dozens of templates to help you. To grasp how easy is is to write an email asking for something by using Flowrite, check out an example of how to make a request below.
Sending an email requesting information is simple, but you'll need to follow the correct structure and strike the right tone of voice to be effective. The best emails are clear and confident, and follow the 7 rules we outlined here.
We covered how to write email for requesting something and some common examples that professionals use frequently. Let us know if this article was helpful. Now it's up to you to put this into practice!
Supercharge your communication with Flowrite
Write emails and messages faster across Google Chrome.
Share this article