Do the needful: You rather not say it

by Dorcas Addo

Have you ever handed over a completed project to your boss and the only response you get is ‘thanks’ or ‘the great Indian nod’? ‘Do the needful’ is just as confusing, distressing and redundant as the above scenario.

Be specific

Clarity counts whenever you’re communicating. Tell the fellow the exact thing you want from them; it doesn’t necessarily mean the recipient of the instruction is not up to scratch or cannot think on their feet.

Archaic? Upgrade yourself

Moreover, ‘do the needful’ is too archaic and you need to stop using it. Creating complexity, inaction and uncertainty with ‘do the needful’ is not worth the risks, particularly when there has been no prior information as regards necessary steps to take on a matter.

Don’t be bossy

I bet you wouldn’t also want to sound rude and bossy, whether you’re an employer, employee or a client with the authority to ‘order’ others to do the ‘needful’. ‘Please/kindly examine the contract and submit a report’ is more appropriate than ‘do the needful. We have a contract from ABC company’.

An alternative

However, in situations where both the sender and the receiver of an instruction are sure of what needs to be done, expressions such as ‘please/kindly take the necessary/required action(s)’ is better.

Communication is very essential in our day-to-day life, but landing the undesired response in the process could be frustrating, embarrassing or even a downright waste of efforts. Avoid ‘do the needful’ and prove that you’re a productive professional who’s on top of the game.