What’s wrong with using “I’ll touch base with you” in an email? “Touching base” simply means getting in contact with someone. (It’s believed to derive from baseball, where a player must touch four bases to score a run.)
Unfortunately, a Glassdoor survey revealed roughly one in four employees think “touch base” is the most annoying buzzword. So if you often toss it around, you might be irritating your coworkers, prospects, and connections.
“Touch Base” Alternatives
1) “I’ll call you at [date and time] to [gauge your progress, see if you have any questions, review your work].”
Instead of the vague “touching base,” this line spells out exactly when you’ll contact the other person and what your purpose will be.
2) “Can we meet for [X minutes] sometime [this week, next month, next quarter] to discuss [topic]?”
If your meeting is going to be relatively quick -- or it’s too far away to pick a specific day -- try this question. It accomplishes the same purpose as “let’s touch base” but gives more detail and secures your recipient’s buy-in.
3) “Let’s check in via [email, Skype, Slack, text, a phone call] once [X benchmark is hit].”
Maybe you can’t pin down a date because you’re waiting to pass a certain milestone -- like you want to talk to your prospect as soon as they’ve gotten the go-ahead from Legal. Clarify the communication channel you’ll use and the key event so both parties know exactly what’s going to happen next.
4) “Let’s meet again in a [week, month] for [X purpose]. Are you free on [date and time]?”
Because you’re asking if they’re available, rather than if they’d like to speak again in the first place, this soft close makes a second meeting more likely -- while still giving them a choice in the matter.
5) “Please send me an update on your progress on [date].”
Do you need to touch base so the other person can brief you on what they’ve accomplished? Be explicit. Far from sounding rude, this statement actually puts them at ease by giving them your exact expectations. As an added benefit, you sound confident and in control.
6) “Before I can do X, I need [Y dependency]. Want to [meet, talk] on [date and time] so I can fill you in on how it’s going?”
Try this casual version of “touching base” when you’re in the midst of a project that requires participation from others.
Shorter alternatives to “touching base”
You can also try these short and sweet options.
“Huddle about A”
“Speak about B”
“Talk through C”
“Share our thoughts on D”
“Brief each other about E”
“Update each other on F”
“Give each other the news on G”
“Share our progress on H”
“Provide an overview of I”
“Quickly sync up about J”
“Fill each other in on K”
“Catch each other up about L”
“Contact you about M”
“Call me about N”
“Swap our feedback on O”
“Chat about Q”
“Hear how you’re doing with R”
“Get in touch about S”
“Restart our conversation about T”
“Learn more about U”
“Noodle over V”
“Think out loud about W”
“Talk about X”
“Powwow about Y”
“Brainstorm ideas for Z”
Now that you've got these alternatives up your sleeve, you never have to annoy anyone with your workplace jargon again.
Originally published Oct 9, 2017 7:30:00 AM, updated October 30 2019