Are you sometimes asked at work for information you’re not in a position to provide (yet)? It can be a tricky situation. On the one hand, you donâ€™t want to come across as uncooperative or overly secretive. On the other hand, if you donâ€™t make it very clear that the matter really isnâ€™t up for discussion, the other person is likely to keep trying to get something out of you. Â As is so often the case, you need to be polite â€“ even if this is the umpteenth call on the same topic today â€“ but firm. Â
If someone has a legitimate interest in the information
Often the person asking has a right to the information, but youâ€™re not able to supply it at the moment. In this case you follow the 3-step approach below, choosing from the phrases Â to show that you understand his or her interest, explain that you canâ€™t provide the information and â€“ if at all possible â€“ say when they can expect to receive it.
Step 1: Show that you understand why he or she wants to know: Â
- I can see that you want to know as soon as possible, but â€¦
- I realize that this uncertainty is a problem, but â€¦
- I can understand that youâ€™re impatient to know, but â€¦
- I appreciate that thereâ€™s a lot riding on the decision for you, but â€¦
Step 2: Explain that you can’t provide the information:
- â€¦ Iâ€™m not allowed to give any information at the moment.
- â€¦ Iâ€™m not at liberty to say (just yet).
- â€¦ Iâ€™m afraid I’m not in a position to tell you anything (right now).
- … I really can’t comment (yet).
Step 3: Say when you will be able to give the requested information: Â
- I should be able to tell you more in a couple of days.
- Weâ€™ll be issuing a statement next week.
- Everyone affected will be informed by the end of the week.
- Iâ€™ll get back to you as soon as I can say more.
If the topic is none of the other personâ€™s business
Sometimes, of course, the person asking has no right to the information. If this is the case, you can use the Â following phrases:
- Iâ€™m afraid I canâ€™t discuss that with anyone it doesnâ€™t concern.
- I can only discuss that with those involved.
- Itâ€™s company policy to only share that information with those directly affected.
- Thatâ€™s confidential, Iâ€™m afraid.