Thanking in Advance


Have you ever sent or received an email that ends with “Thanks in advance”? It’s sort of a half-request/half-mandate commonly used between equally-ranked workers. As in, “Do what I’d like you to do, and you’ll have my gratitude.”

Managers and executives have no need for the phrase; they have their own more direct, more concise one. I find their version so much better. It’s unhindered by nuance and there’s no reading between the lines.  It cuts to the chase; it gives you a clear objective in mind.  It’s two simple words, really:

“Do it.”

You might want to be careful about “thanking in advance.” it doesn’t always sound very sincere, and it might delay your request instead of expediting it. Having a genuinely friendly relationship (and a genuinely friendly correspondence to match) is much more effective.

Does the phrase “thanks in advance” irk you? Do you find it effective? We’re going to need you to “weigh in” on the issue with a comment below.

Thanks in advance! – Peter


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Peter is Vice President of Digital Marketing at an investment holdings company in Washington DC and Co-Founder at True North.

Discussion

  1. varresa on the 30th June

    I have a co-worker who not only used the phrase “thanks in advance” but she’ll ask me to do something for her via IM and then say “thanks in advance” before I even have a chance to respond. It definitely irks me!

  2. I would agree that thanks in advance is not a good sentence.

    I think it’s better to first request sincerely, and then when the other person accepts it/completes it (whatever work it is), then send a thank you message.

    Nabeel

  3. Aaron Anderson on the 30th June

    instead of thanks in advance I like to challenge peers and say let me know when you get this accomplished so we can collaborate together on it ! …

    lol its a strategic contemporary…

  4. Matt on the 30th June

    Wow… I’ve never commented here before, but this is something I do all the time. I don’t even mean for it to be rude. I actually am appreciative of the fact that they will do it. Hope I didn’t come off as an ass…

    • Ken Kurosawa on the 30th June

      Although I don’t say ‘thanks in advance’ too often, I think it really depends on how you are in person. And depending on that interaction, the person will take it either positively/negatively. If your relationship is fully remote… well then…

    • Jay on the 2nd July

      “I actually am appreciative of the fact that they will do it.”

      Ditto for me. Never meant it as a “do it”. Just sincerely meant “thanks”.

  5. Joshua on the 30th June

    I do this, especially with my clients. I try to make the point that I need them to do something, but also being polite about it . I don’t necessary see it the way you are describing it, but I can understand your point of view. A great book on Email is “Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better”, I think it should be required reading. I am going to reconsider the use of “Thanks in advance” based on your post.

    Joshua

  6. Amy on the 1st July

    This phrase definitely irks me– though I know people are trying to be polite, it assumes that I will do it. Like you, I like the boss’s version of ‘do it’ better because there’s no seeming manipulation or hidden motivation. Someone says thanks in advance, and my mental response always is, but what if I say no? You just asked me to do something, what if I replied and said sorry, I can’t? Thank me after I’ve agreed to do it/have done it, because ‘thanks in advance’ seems like a way to get people to do things while seeming to ask them but really telling them.

  7. Andrea Canton on the 1st July

    I never use this sentence, it really sounds not sincere. Instead sometimes I prefer to use “thanks for your attention”.

  8. Luce on the 1st July

    It really depends on the way it’s said.

    Of course if the person is playing the big head over you and says “thanks in advance” like you are his slave or something, well YEAH it IS frustrating.

    But if a friend or a collegue is in “the juice” and really needs your help for something and says “Thanks in advance’ I don’t see it as a bad thing.

    (I think all of the comments up here are right, it’s all about the context)

  9. theo on the 1st July

    A business writing teacher I once knew had this to say about “Thanks in advance.”

    “Don’t ever type this. Thanking someone in advance is essentially a way of saying that you don’t appreciate a person or their effort enough to give a sincere expression of appreciation once their efforts have been completed.”

    A much better compromise is simply thanks. It is less anticipatory and is just thanking the person for their attention to your email. For example:

    “Hey Leo,

    Can you let me know when you’ve checked in the specification for this ticket?

    Thanks,

    theo”

  10. Verbena on the 19th October

    I don’t agree that saying “Thank you in advance” denotes the writer doesn’t appreciate the recipient’s efforts enough to say “thank you” upon completion of the request. Instead, I feel that a formal thank you probably is not necessary for the requested task, such as asking an HR person to post a flyer about your services in the HR office.

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