I’ll have to get back to you…

Recently I posted a video on effective communication as an HR competency. I mentioned the importance of using “I’ll get back to you on that” as a daily phrase to help you communicate effectively. One of the comments on the post was fantastic, and I wanted to republish it here so everyone could benefit from this piece of wisdom.

Comment by Mike Brisciana (@mbrisciana_hr on Twitter)

Great point about using “Can I get back to you on that” when you’re scattered, you don’t know the answer, and it’s too important to guess or deflect.

I did this poorly at the beginning of my career (I would feel pressured by more senior people to respond on issues I wasn’t fully familiar with), until a mentor suggested the “can I get back to you shortly” approach. No expects you to have a perfect answer on the spot every time. They do expect you to take them seriously and give their issue your full attention.

“Can I get back to you” communicates, “I know this is important; I want to give you my full attention and my best response, and if I can have a little time to think about this and develop an effective response, it will serve your needs well.” There are times when someone needs an on-the-spot answer, but these are few and far between. In most cases, a slightly later but more substantive answer will be much more effective — and, in the end, much more appreciated.

Love it! Anyone else have something to add?

2 thoughts on “I’ll have to get back to you…

  1. Kristen

    Thank you for sharing this wisdom.

    I’d add, when possible, to put your response in writing. That said, be certain you have a true answer to the query before doing so, but if you’ve put your attention and resources into answering the question put it in writing.

    In my experience it’s not only the people charged with answering who may be scattered at the moment the question in posed. The questioner may also have several things going on at once.

    Being able to document your response allows you both, and anyone else involved, to reference the answer in future, when each person has the opportunity to review.

    That said, it doesn’t hurt to give your response and say something like, “I’ll send a follow up email copying x,y,z after this conversation” just to tie up any lose ends.

    Great topic!

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