Sending polite reminders about old emails helps people to keep on top of them. It’s worth asking someone to “circle back” when introducing an older topic for their response.
Although “circle back” might not be the most effective professional phrase. And you’re here to find out if there are better options.
This article has gathered some alternatives to show you how to say “circle back” professionally.
Is It Professional to Say “Circle Back”?
It is professional to say “circle back.” It’s commonly seen in formal emails when you’d like someone to go back to a previous topic of conversation to provide an answer.
It is not rude or offensive to ask someone to circle back. Often, it just means you’d like them to get back to you about something they have yet to reply to.
You should refer to this example to see how it works:
Can we circle back to the previous discussion about finances before we continue?
- It’s polite.
- It’s easily identifiable as a formal way to return to a previous discussion.
- It’s overused and has lost its impact in an email.
- It’s very generic.
“Circle back” is good to include in a formal email. It shows you intend to hear from someone, but there are other ways to do this.
So, you should read on to find out how to politely remind someone to reply to your email. It’s worth knowing a few formal synonyms to keep your readers on their toes.
What to Say Instead of “Circle Back”
- Follow up
- Check back
- Return to
- Resume the discussion
- Continue the discussion on
- Touch base again
- Pick up where we left off
1. Follow Up
One of the more common examples of what to say instead of “circle back” is “follow up.”
It’s a great formal alternative that shows you’re keen to return to a previous discussion.
Generally, you would use “follow up” when you’d like to send someone a reminder. If you’ve asked a question in your email thread that has yet to be answered, this is a good choice.
It creates a professional follow-up email for the recipient. You can use it when asking your boss to answer a question you may have asked before.
You can also review this sample email:
Dear Miss Farlow,
I would like to follow up regarding the last question I asked you. Have you thought more about what your answer will be?
All the best,
It’s good to return to previous questions when you’re worried about the answer. You don’t want someone to take too long before answering because it could cause problems in the future.
That’s where “revisit” comes in. It’s a formal choice that shows you’d like to return to a discussion in an email thread.
Generally, this helps to keep the discussion at the forefront of the recipient’s mind. You should use it to ask clients to reply to you.
We highly recommend including it if you want to hear someone’s opinion. This keeps things formal and respectful when asking direct business questions.
Here’s a great email example if you’re still unsure:
Dear Ms. Mathews,
I would like to revisit this as soon as you get the chance. Please can we discuss more about the situation when you’re free?
3. Check Back
Not every professional phrase has to sound overly formal. Sometimes, a slightly more conversational choice works best.
Think about “check back” here. Sure, it’s not the most formal option, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.
We recommend using “check back” to ask a coworker to return to a previous discussion. It shows you’re keen to get their verdict on something.
It’s also a good choice for creating a more open line of communication. It ensures that nobody misses any questions or topics that need discussion.
The following example will also help you with it:
Can we check back on this topic? Have you had more time to think about your answer to my original question?
4. Return To
You can ask for a status update by including “return to” in an email. It shows you’re open to conversation about a previous question.
We recommend using it when you’re worried the recipient might have skimmed over a question. It draws attention to an old question or query that still needs answering.
Generally, this will work best when asking coworkers to get back to you. It shows you’re keen to hear about the status of something, especially if you worked on it together.
Check out this email example if you’re still stuck:
I would like to return to the previous proposal. Do you have any ideas that you’d like to introduce that might change it?
All the best,
You can also use “readdress” instead of “circle back.” It shows you how to politely follow up on an email to coworkers.
It’s best to use it when talking to someone you work closely with. After all, it shows you’d like their input on something you’ve previously sent them.
For instance, you may have asked them a question about a team project. Asking them to “readdress” this question shows you expect an answer in a slightly less demanding way.
This sample email should clear things up:
We must readdress the topic before we run it by our boss. We have to agree on the outcome before it’s too late.
6. Resume the Discussion
Discussions in the workplace can derail quickly. You could start by talking about one thing and accidentally end up talking about something completely different.
That’s where “resume the discussion” comes in. It’s professional and concise, showing you’ve lost sight of the original discussion.
If you’d like to keep a conversation on track, this is the way to go about it.
It reminds the recipient that you’ve previously touched on an important topic. So, it encourages them to revisit whatever you previously spoke about.
The following example will also help you understand it better:
Dear Mr. Bradford,
We should resume the discussion immediately. I still have a few new ideas that would help us get back to where we were.
7. Continue the Discussion On
In emails, it’s best to keep things direct. The more direct your comments, the easier it is for someone to understand what you’re asking.
Therefore, use “continue the discussion on” as a direct synonym for “circle back.” It clarifies that you’re interested in going back to a previous topic.
This indicates to the recipient that they might have skimmed over something. We recommend using it if you’re keen to find out more regarding their opinions or ideas.
You should also review this email sample:
We need to continue the discussion on the previous topic. I’m still waiting to hear your proposal before continuing.
8. Touch Base Again
Sometimes, it helps to sound more informal in emails. That way, you can keep the conversation more friendly and less demanding on the recipient.
So, you can write “touch base again” to keep things interesting.
It gives off a more friendly vibe that’s often missed in emails. We recommend including it when emailing clients if you’re keen to hear their ideas but want to remain more open and friendly.
Here’s a great sample email if you’re still stumped:
Dear Ms. Martens,
Can we touch base again on the previous discussion, though? I’m worried that you’re not thinking about your approach.
It’s worth using “reconnect” as another way to say “circle back” in anemail. It’s a great word to show you’d like to continue a previous conversation.
It also allows you to explore something in your current email thread. It’s a good way to keep the conversation flowing without trying to directly push someone into replying to something.
Don’t forget to also review this example:
We need to reconnect about this topic. It’s important that we both agree on what to do before moving forward.
10. Pick Up Where We Left Off
You can also write “pick up where we left off.” It’s slightly more informal than the other choices, but that doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate in professional emails.
Generally, you can include a more informal phrase when you have a friendly relationship with the recipient.
For instance, it works when emailing coworkers. It shows you’d like to revisit a previous discussion to get more information out of them.
Of course, it might not be as effective when messaging your boss or clients. You should refer to slightly more formal language for them.
Here’s a helpful email example to show you how to use it if you’re still stuck:
Can we pick up where we left off and revisit this, please? I have a few ideas that I’d like to run through with you.
All the best,