Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Scripts & Templates for Life’s Uncomfortable Conversations.

Contact & find out more.

Legal Information

NTRW is supported by adverts and affiliate marketing links. This means if you click a link or buy a product, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Partnerships help fund this site. For more info, please see our Earnings Disclosure.
This site does not constitute as legal, mental, or medical health advice, please consult a competent licensed professional.

5 Emails to Tell Your Client You Are Unable to Meet the Deadline

As people, all of us are bound to slip up from time to time, and this includes missing important deadlines.

For whatever reason, we are often unable to deliver our work on time, which could lead to serious penalties and maybe a VERY disappointing look from your client or supervisor.

In order to maintain a professional image it’s always better inform your team and your manager in advance about any sort of delay in meeting deadlines.

To make this conversation less uncomfortable, we have drafted some very effective email templates to send when you know you’re unable to meet that all important due date.

Read on for 5 Email Templates That Tell Your Client You Are Unable to Meet the Deadline:

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on https://nevertherightword.com. If this article appears on any other site other than https://nevertherightword.com without clear referencing it is a violation of the copyright owned by https://nevertherightword.com.

This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy a product, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Never the Right Word is a participant in the Awin Affiliates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to participating merchants. For more information, please view our Privacy Policy and disclosure page.

Email Template 1 | “We Underestimated the Time it Would Take”

 

Dear [Insert Name],
I am writing to let you know that I will be unable to meet the deadline for the project you assigned to me last week. I was unable to calculate properly how much time this project would take to complete, and I apologise for not being accurate in my estimate.
However, I assure you that my team and I have been working very hard to try and complete the work as quickly as possible. Currently, 80% of the work is complete, and we require three more days to deliver the remaining items. If possible, a short extension to the deadline would enable us to complete the final tasks and hand over the work.
The delay was caused by a planning error, which failed to consider the time needed to get the reports back from the surveying team. Now that we have all the resources we need to move on with the project, I assure you it will be completed promptly. 
Thank you for your patience on this matter, and I look forward to completing the project very soon.
Sincerely,
[Insert Your Name]
If you want to improve how you deliver bad news (especially in professional environments), we think you’ll benefit from checking out the "Delivering Bad News Effectively" video course from LinkedIn Learning. Take a look at the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Delivering Bad News Effectively" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, organizational psychologist and executive coach Gemma Roberts explains how to prepare to deliver bad news, manage the meeting itself, and then follow up to ensure clarity and next steps all from the comfort of your laptop.

Email Template 2 | “Our staff Went on Strike”

 

Dear [Insert Name],
This email is to inform you that my team has been unable to meet the deadline for your project. Everything was going according to schedule, but three days ago my team went on strike, which was called by their union.
I apologise for not letting you know sooner, but this was a very fluid and dynamic situation, and we had hoped that the strike would be resolved quickly enough to still meet your deadline.
The project is really big and valuable to us. Had the strike not happened, I would have delivered the task on time. My boss and I have been struggling day and night to put another team together and we did, fortunately, finalise a team of five members who will be on board with us for this project. If we could get an extension to the deadline, I assure you your work will be completed and we will work with more diligence to deliver what we promised.
Now that the strike is over, we have allocated additional resources to this project in order to complete it as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your patience on this matter, and I look forward to delivering the project shortly, and to working with you again in the future.
Sincerely,
[Insert Your Name]
If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Creating Positive Conversations with Challenging Customers" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, Myra Golden shares approaches that can help you reframe such conversations, and use your words and actions to put a positive slant on an otherwise negative situation. Learn how to use empathy and pacing to foster a sense of connection with customers. Discover the words and phrases to avoid in customer service, how to use partnership language to leave people feeling heard and satisfied, and how to properly apologize. Plus, learn how to approach real-world situations, such as billing issues.

Email Template 3 | “I Was Unwell and Unable to Work”

 

Dear [Insert Name],
I’m writing to let you know that I will not be able to complete the project you assigned in time to meet your deadline. I do understand how important this project is to you, and I know that you stressed how critical it was to stick to the deadline.
Four days ago, I was taken ill unexpectedly, and had to go to hospital. Once discharged, I was ordered to rest for several days, and I have only today been well enough to contact you to let you know about this situation.
In view of these circumstances, would it be possible to grant me an extension, so that I can complete the project? I have already completed 80% of the work, and an extension of 2-3 days is all that I need to finalise everything and check it through.
Once again, I apologise for the delay and promise to deliver the project very shortly.
With best regards,
[Insert Your Name]

This template explains your unforeseen circumstances without going overboard on the details. It’s not necessary to explain too much, but you also need to impress on the recipient that this was a serious illness and not just a minor bug. By assuming that an extension will be granted, you are suggesting that this is a reasonable approach in the circumstances.

If you want to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the "Having Difficult Conversations" video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Having Difficult Conversations" On LinkedIn Learning
Here you'll get practical advice on how to have difficult conversations with colleagues, employees, and managers. You'll learn to develop your communication skills to improve your relationships, teamwork, and business performance all from the comfort of your laptop.

Email Template 4 | “We Were Busy With Other Work

 

Dear [Insert Name],
Throughout the [insert project name] project, I have provided regular progress updates to keep you informed of completed activities and issues that have arisen. Whilst previous reports have all been positive, I have to let you know that we are unable to meet the next deadline, which is in a week’s time.
Due to staff shortages and changing requirements from other clients, our scheduling has suffered in the past few weeks, and the consequence of this is that some projects have incurred short delays. we are doing everything we can to rectify this issue, and we hope to catch up completely within the next 2-3 weeks.
I do apologise for any inconvenience caused by this delay, and I assure you that the work is our main priority. If we are able to deliver the project earlier, we will of course do so, but I guarantee that it will be with you within 10 days at the most.
Sincerely,
[Insert Your Name]

Whilst this template acknowledges that you were working on other projects, it doesn’t dwell on that point, as no client wants to hear that they are not important, or that they have been pushed to the back of the queue. It’s important to always inform the client that you will miss a deadline before it happens, so that they can make plans if necessary. It’s also important to be precise about exactly how much extra time you need to complete the work.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Improving Your Focus" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, productivity expert and best-selling author Dave Crenshaw helps you develop the survival skills to both avoid daily distractions and stay focused on what's most valuable. Curate your digital and physical space to strengthen concentration, discover ways to keep your mind on task, and protect your relationships—both at work and at home—by focusing on what's most important.

Email Template 5 | “I Forgot the Deadline for My Homework or Coursework”

 

Dear [Insert Name],
I am a student in your International Relations class and you recently gave us a Literature Review that was to be submitted today. Unfortunately, I didn’t submit it because I forgot to do the assignment, as I was preoccupied with a number of personal issues.
I assure you that I do not usually forget assignments, and I am committed to working hard on my course. However, the personal matters I mentioned above were serious, and they affected my concentration.
If it is possible, could I give the complete assignment to you tomorrow? I understand that I may be penalised for submitting the assignment after the deadline, but I really hope that you will allow me to submit it anyway.
I understand this is a core course and this issue will make it hard to get a good grade, which is why I hope you will consider my circumstances when deciding whether to accept my late submission.
Sincerely,
[Insert Your Name]

Always remember to be truthful about the reason why you missed a deadline. No matter what profession or what circumstances, most people appreciate honesty and positivity.

At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.  

If you’re interested in further reading, we’ve also included links to our trusted resources and related posts below. To find out more about NTRW and our recommended tools, you can do that here.

Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!

Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation.

In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.

Popular Articles...

Relevant Books We Recommend...

Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior, Second Edition ( Paperback) (Paperback)

In Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior by Kerry Patterson, tools for improving professional and personal relationships permanently are explored. Crucial Accountability provides a simple step by step approach for effectively discussing issues with others when they disappoint. It starts by helping us challenge the belief that we simply cannot speak up to certain people and then offers practical tools to use during the confrontation. The goal for Crucial Accountability is to open the lines of communication making our relationships less stressful, and far more rewarding in return. Get your copy of Crucial Accountability by CLICKING HERE.

The Mediator's Handbook: Revised & Expanded fourth edition (Paperback)

Throughout The Mediator's Handbook by Jennifer E. Beer and Caroline C. Packard the emphasis is on what the mediator can do or say NOW, and on the underlying principles and core methods that can help the mediator make considered choices. Long a popular course textbook for high schools, universities, and training programs, The Mediator's Handbook is also a valued desk reference for professional mediators, and a practical guide for managers, organizers, teachers, and anyone working with clients, customers, volunteers, committees or teams. You can get your copy of The Mediator's Handbook by CLICKING HERE.

If there was a book perfect to go alongside this website THIS would be it. In Delivering Bad News in Good Ways: Turn Difficult Conversations into Purposeful Dialogue,  author Alison H. Sigmon, M.Ed., PMP gives project managers a practical, easily applied method for quickly evaluating and effectively responding to the need to deliver unwelcome news appropriately. What we enjoyed most about this book was how each chapter begins with a relatable (and very often hilarious) real-life example with quotes, followed by a concise 3-step solution; Separate, Evaluate, and Deliver. CLICK HERE to get your copy.

Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact (Paperback)

In Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact, best-selling author and multiple award-winner Phil M. Jones presents what he calls his “Magic Words” and provides precise examples of how to put them to work. Expect to read the book quickly and feel instantly motivated to create your own examples to help you win more business, have more influence in your workplace, and grow your persuasiveness in social situations. This book took us approximately an hour to read and can be repeatedly referred back to with ease. We recommend this book to anyone who wants to build and integrate conducive habits into their communication skills. A thumbs up from us! CLICK HERE to buy Exactly What to Say from Book Depository.

Pin Never the Right Word on Pinterest!

Like Our Site? These Are the Resources We Recommend.

To build this site we used these highly recommended tried-and-tested tools:

We Trust Elegant Themes

The Elegant Themes membership gives you complete access to 87 amazing themes and 3 awesome plugins, including Divi, the ultimate WordPress Theme and Visual Page builder. Elegant Themes have been building the world's most popular WordPress themes for the past 10 years, and rest assured their products will always be improved and maintained. 

Divi WordPress Theme

We Build With Divi Theme

One of the most popular WordPress themes in the world. Building layouts is easy and fast, making it ideal to create mockups and wireframes, prototyping a design, and creating the website itself. Build from the frontend or backend. The builder is intuitive. It's easy to learn and can be used by non-developers to create amazing websites. Check out the official Divi Theme here.

Divi Cake is a community driven marketplace for Divi Child Themes, Builder Layouts, and Plugins - Shop Now!

We Customize With Divi Cake Plugins

Divi Cake’s main goal is to help the members of the Divi community find the perfect premium Divi themes, layouts, and plugins created by leading Divi developers and designers. Shop hundreds of premium Divi products like Divi child themes, Divi layouts, and Divi plugins on Divi Cake, the community driven Divi Marketplace. Find out more about Divi Cake here.

We ❤️Shutterstock Media

We get our images from the OG leader in stock assets. Boost your business with the right images. They're royalty-free and ready to use. Footage & Music Libraries. 4k Images Added per Hour. No Daily Download Limit. Speedy Search & Discovery. With flexible plans and countless amounts of premium content uploaded weekly, we couldn't leave Shutterstock off our list.

Skill-Up With LinkedIn Learning

When you want to enhance your professional skills with expert-led, online video tutorials, the only place to go is LinkedIn Learning (Lynda). With a subscription you get 24/7, unlimited access to over 13,000 business, design & tech online courses and with a free month. We like them because we get expert-led courses that we can access anytime, anywhere. What's not to love?

Web Hosting

We're Hosted With SiteGround

SiteGround boasts a whole list of fantastic features at amazingly affordable prices. Along with multiple growth options, free site transfers and domains, built in Content Delivery Network integrations, WordPress support AND human support we wouldn't go to anyone else. They're basically faster, safer and more supportive- you can check them out here.

We Trust Grammarly Premium

Even seasoned writers need a helping hand at times, that’s why we trust Grammarly Premium. As the World's Most Accurate Online Grammar Checker, Grammarly Premium goes beyond grammar to help you ensure that everything you write is clear, engaging, and professional. Learn more about Grammarly Premium’s AI-powered assistant here.

Find Graphics With Creative Market

Creative Market is the world’s marketplace for design. Bring your creative projects to life with ready-to-use design assets from independent creators around the world. We love the unique finds, social media templates, vectors you name it they have it. I also doesn't hurt that our founder has a little store on there...

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Contact Us

Email Us

Never the Right Word
Building 19475
PO Box 6945
London
W1A 6US
United Kingdom

Follow NTRW

Support NTRW

Become a Patron!
Donate to Never the Right Word and keep us accessible to all. Thank you!

Stay in the Loop

error: Content is protected !!

Pin It on Pinterest