Your out-of-office email message says, “I’m away from my workdesk right now, yet I’ll get back to you in ~ my more quickly convenience.” have you developed a grievous service faux pas? Surely, you supposed well. How might it maybe be impolite come say the you’ll perform something just as quickly as it’s practically for you?

Language has actually power. Words and also phrases are open up to interpretation. They have the right to convey a certain tone, relying on the paper definition in i m sorry they’re used.

You are watching: I am available at your convenience

Mark two said, “The difference in between the nearly right word and also the best word is yes, really a big matter—’tis the difference between the lightning pest and the lightning.” The trick to clear communication lies in choosing words and also phrases that are less likely to be misinterpreted—the lightning bugs quite than the lightning.

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Is over there a trouble with “earliest convenience”?

As impolite phrases go, there are definitely worse offenses. Even if it is this one rubs united state the wrong way depends on the context in which the used.

At my faster convenience

Let’s look at our out-of-office message instance from above.

I’m far from my workdesk right now, but I’ll get back to you in ~ my more quickly convenience.

Our Verdict: don’t use

Saying you’ll return someone’s email or speak to at her earliest convenience sound impolite. Yes, you mean that you’ll get earlier to the person who’s contacted you as shortly as friend can, however what the recipient hears is something much more like, “I’ll get earlier to you as soon as (and perhaps if) it’s convenient for me.” The implication is that you’ll perform it as soon as you feel prefer it, or when you’re great and ready, or maybe never. Snooty!

At your more quickly convenience

But what if you’re making use of “at her earliest convenience” come tell someone the you’re okay with them getting about to your request when it’s practically for them? let’s look at an email between colleagues, John and also Mary.

Hi Mary,

I’m walk to need our profit and also loss statement indigenous Q1 in order to prepare a report. Would certainly you send it to me at your earliest convenience?


Our Verdict it s okay to use, however . . .

. . . There are far better ways come express that a request isn’t urgent. Although it no rude come tell mar that it’s it s okay for she to tend to her request once it’s convenient, “at your earliest convenience” tho falls brief on a couple of counts.

It’s not specific enough. did you do it told mar you require something, however you no tell her once you absolutely require it by. She might assume you nothing really need it in ~ all. A much better option would be “. . . At her earliest convenience, or no later than .”It sounds jargony. one of the reasons many human being dislike “at her earliest convenience” is that it sound like business jargon—something we all love come hate. Use plain language instead.It’s conveniently misinterpreted. What if mary sees her request together urgent when you expected to say the you were in no hurry? She might take time the end of her day to rush with your task, which could turn the end to it is in anything but convenient for her.

Alternatives to “Earliest Convenience”

As unit volume go, dropping “earliest convenience” native your collection is the most safe bet. But what need to you use instead?

At my more quickly convenience

We’ve currently stated the you should drop “at my earliest convenience” from workplace and personal communication tout de suite. It comes throughout as inconsiderate, if no outright rude.

If you do have time to respect a request, instead of saying you’ll get approximately to it when it’s convenient, phone call the person when they have the right to expect your response. (“I’ll reply as soon as I go back to the office on .”)

At your more quickly convenience

Although yes nothing wrong v this phrase, it can actually be too polite, or at the very least too open-ended. Although you might use softer, less jaron-laden language prefer “whenever you have time” or “as shortly as you’re able”, once again, we like specificity.

Let’s revisit the John and also Mary email example and also make it an ext specific.

Hi Mary,

I’m going to require our profit and loss statement indigenous Q1 to prepare a report I’ll it is in presenting next Monday. Would certainly you have the ability to send me the P&L no later than Wednesday the this week?


Here, rather of informing Mary to get about to sending the P&L declare whenever it’s practically for her, and also leaving she to wonder how soon he demands them, John has used a call-to-action to ask even if it is she would have the ability to send them end by Wednesday.

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Now, mary knows what man needs and when he needs it. Plus, having the CTA in the form of a question could prompt her to reply, letting him know whether she’ll be able to accommodate the request.

Bonus: Mary’s reply will record the exchange. If she says that yes, she can have the P&L statement all set by Wednesday and doesn’t deliver, John have the right to follow up. If she still doesn’t respond, the can suggest to this email trail when he has actually to explain why the P&L didn’t make it into his report. Way to cover your backside, John!