The most passive aggressive phrase in all the business land? It might just be “As per our conversation.” You’ve sent it. You’ve received it. And we all know it generally means, “Hey, we’ve already talked about this,” or “We agreed on this and you haven’t held up your end of the bargain.”
Even if you don’t mean to imbue this phrase with the frustration of one hundred unanswered prospect emails, there are better, more effective ways to refer to previous conversations and agreements, and I’ve got a few ideas listed below. But first, let’s be clear about what this phrase actually means.
As Per Our Conversation: What it Means
“As per our conversation” refers to an idea, agreement, takeaway, or result of a conversation you had with another person(s). It’s a way to remind the other person that something was discussed -- and sometimes, to remind them of obligations they agreed to.
How it’s Used and Alternatives to “As Per Our Conversation”
1. To remind the other party of an obligation
If you want to politely remind the other person of an obligation they agreed to, you might refer to it using, “As per our conversation.” This is especially tempting if someone has forgotten to meet their obligation or does not remember agreeing to it.
Example: “As per our conversation, I’m expecting you to deliver the signed contract by the end of the week.”
“Last time we spoke”
Example: “Last time we spoke, you agreed to send the contract by the end of the week. Is that still a realistic timeline?”
The second example is much more straightforward and friendly, while still reminding them of your previous conversation and the agreed upon takeaways.
2. To clarify a message
Sometimes we use “As per our conversation” simply to clarify a previously communicated message and make sure both parties are on the same page. It’s easy for messages to get lost in translation through many meetings and seemingly endless email threads.
Example: “As per our conversation, I wanted to clarify the shipment will be sent to our new address, while our billing address will stay the same.”
“I’d like to make sure we’re on the same page”
“I have a question about our conversation earlier”
Example: “I’d like to make sure we’re on the same page after our last meeting. To clarify, the shipment will be sent to our new address and the billing address will stay the same.”
This is much more conversational and gets to the heart of the matter immediately. It also avoids sounding territorial or accusatory.
3. To inform on progress
When you simply want to keep a business partner updated on your progress, “As per our conversation” is an easy habit to fall back into. But it’s not as descriptive in this context and can seem overly formal.
Example: “As per our conversation, I’ve spoken with your legal department and we’ve made appropriate adjustments to the contract.”
“Following our conversation”
“After we spoke”
“To update you on my progress”
“As agreed upon”
Example: “After our last conversation, I spoke with your legal department and we made appropriate adjustments to the contract.”
This avoids having your associate try to think back to your previous conversation. It simply informs them that after you last spoke, you took X action and Y was the result. You’re free to move forward with the rest of your transaction.
4. To keep record of conversations/key takeaways
Sometimes, it’s necessary to keep clear written record of agreements and meeting takeaways. This is especially true if you’re working with a large team where details often fall through the cracks or someone new to your industry who can easily forget unfamiliar steps and processes. To guard against this, we often turn to the trusty, “As per our conversation.”
Example: “As per our conversation, you’ve agreed to set up a meeting with your executive team, provide an agenda, and coordinate with me on meeting logistics.”
“I wrote up some next steps from our meeting”
“Here are the key takeaways from our meeting”
“Here are some next steps”
Example: “Here are the key takeaways from our meeting: 1. You will set up a meeting with your executive team, 2. You will provide meeting participants with an agenda, 3. We will work together to coordinate meeting logistics.”
Again, this is less formal and more descriptive. It’s easy to see what the next steps are for each person, and your associate can search for “key takeaways” in their inbox if they need a refresher. It also provides you with clear documentation to keep your project on track and organized.
Today’s crowded, busy correspondence leaves no room for misunderstanding or passive aggressive undertones. Leave those in the past and choose more conversational, concise language to communicate your message, be more persuasive, and forge collaborative relationships with associates and colleagues.
Originally published Jul 20, 2018 8:30:00 AM, updated July 20 2018