In the workplace, it’s important to be polite and use proper language. One phrase I have always found confusing is “Yes will do.” This phrase can have multiple meanings, such as “I agree to do this” or “I will do this for you.” In some cases, it can seem rude. In this article, I explore some alternatives to politely acknowledging a request.
Is It Polite to Say Yes Will Do?
It depends on the situation. In some cases, it can be seen as rude or unprofessional because it seems like you’re making a promise without saying when or how you’ll get something done. In other cases, it can be polite because it shows that you’re willing to help out.
“Being polite in your follow-up emails is a must,” according to Forbes. So, unless you know someone really well, I would stick to formal or semi-casual replies.
Alternatives to Saying Yes, Will Do
There are plenty of alternatives to say this in the workplace. Here are a few:
1. I’ll take a look at that.
You can use “I’ll take a look at that” as an alternative because it shows that you’re willing to help out without making any promises about what time frame or how exactly you’ll get something done.
For example, your boss might say: “Can you take a look at this?” You could respond with, “I’ll take a look at that.”
2. I’d be happy to.
What if you have a demanding boss? “Treat everyone politely, even those rude to you; not because they are nice, but because you are,” as Jean Chern puts it nicely. Chern literally wrote the book on “Business Etiquette Made Easy,” where you can find more of her great advice.
The phrase “I’d be happy to” is a polite alternative because it shows that you’re willing and able to help out. For example, your boss might say: “Can you help me with this?” You could respond with, “I’d be happy to.”
3. I’ll try my best!
You can use “I’ll try my best” as an alternative because it shows that you’re willing to do your best but can’t make any promises. For example, if your boss asks you to do a task that you’re not sure if you can complete, you can say, “I’ll try my best,” to let them know that you’re willing to take on the challenge.
4. I can’t promise anything, but…
If someone asks for something that’s outside of your area of expertise or responsibility, then it might be appropriate to use “I can’t promise anything” as an alternative. Adding a reason validates your hesitation without overcommitting.
Personally, this isn’t my favorite, but there are times when you need to prepare your co-workers that something might take longer than expected. With this phrase, you still come across as a team player.
5. I’ll see what I can do!
Another alternative is “I’ll see what I can do.” This phrase shows that you’re willing to help out but cannot guarantee anything. It also implies that there might be some limitations on your ability or willingness to complete a task within the requested time frame.
6. I’d like to, but my schedule is full right now.
I have become better in recent years about turning down work. It’s better than taking on more than you can handle.
7. Let me check my calendar and get back to you.
If you have other obligations, then “Let me check my calendar” or a similar phrase may be more polite than yes without any explanation. This phrase shows that yes can mean yes, but only after some thought has gone into it.
Nearly 45% of Americans say they worry a lot. I don’t like to overcommit because it stresses everyone if I cannot deliver. So, check your workload before committing.
8. I’d love to!
Richard Simmons put being nice very nicely, “Everyone in this world is somehow connected. So why not just be nice to everybody?”
“I’d love to” might be a better alternative because it shows enthusiasm for the task at hand without making any promises about how quickly you’ll complete the task.
9. Sure thing!
The phrase “sure thing” shows that you’re willing and able to help out but not making any promises about what time frame or how exactly you’ll get something done.
10. I can’t do that.
If you absolutely cannot complete the task at hand, then “I can’t do that” is a polite way of saying no. If you’re in a situation where you can’t do something, then “I can’t promise anything” might be a better way to phrase things.
If you feel that you need help with time management, research books and products that can help you develop this skill. I used an hourly planner to plan out each day to avoid overcommitting.
11. That’s not possible.
Nobody wants to hear this. However, if you’re absolutely sure you cannot do something, honesty is the best policy. You can say this when you don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to complete a task.
If you can follow up with a better alternative, that will show initiative and dedication.
12. I’m not sure if I can do that or not.
This is another way of saying “I can’t do that” because you’re unsure if you’ll be able to complete the task requested. For example, if your boss asks you to stay late on Friday and work overtime, but you’re not sure because of other commitments that you have, you can say, “I’m not sure if I can do that or not,” to let them know.
“Yes will do” may be considered polite in certain circles, but it’s important to consider your audience. When in doubt, choose a precise answer that reflects your ability to handle the task. When necessary, invest in tools that can help you with your communication and time management skills and avoid over-committing at all costs.
Related Article: How to Deal with a Boss Who Keeps Dumping Work on You