How to Say “Next Steps” Formally

To keep your business afloat, you always have to be thinking ahead and consider your next move. But is the phrase next steps suitable to include in your work emails?

In this article, we’ll discuss the correctness of this phrase. Moreover, we’ll provide 10 alternative phrases that you can use when discussing the future of your organization.

Is It Correct to Say “Next Steps”?

The phrase next steps is correct to use in a formal, professional setting. It is often used in the business world to refer to a company’s planned endeavors for the future, and its level of formality suits all kinds of organizations.

Therefore, we’ve drafted two email examples to show how to use this phrase:

Dear Damon,

What are the next steps in our merger agreement?


Dear Mr. Wulf,

The files you have requested are attached below.

Please let me know what the next steps will be for our meeting with the client.

Tom Billing

Depending on the context, next steps can be written as next step:

  • Correct: Next steps.
  • Correct: Next step.

Essentially, you would use the plural form of steps when you are referring to multiple actions that need to be taken. Using the singular form step implies that only one action needs to be taken.

So, we know that next steps is a correct and effective phrase to use in a work setting. However, as this phrase is so common, it may come across as standardized.

Therefore, you can use one of the alternative phrases we have provided below to zest up your language and keep your work correspondence diverse.

10 Alternative Ways to Say “Next Steps”

Check out these 10 alternative ways to say next steps in formal and professional circumstances:

  • Next stage
  • Next course of action
  • Next phase
  • Way forward
  • Subsequent phases
  • Road ahead
  • New chapter
  • Next move
  • Further actions
  • What comes next

1. Next Stage

If you’re unsure how to ask about the next steps in an interview process, you can use the phrase next stage in a follow-up email to the recruiter.

You can use this phrase after the interview or prior to it if you have recently submitted your application. After all, it never hurts to gain clarity on what’s coming next.

Moreover, following up with the recruiter will show your interest in the role and help you stand out.

Therefore, let’s see an email sample making use of this phrase:

Dear Jay,

I am emailing you to follow up on my application for the PA role.

Please advise me on the next stage of the application process. 

Kind regards,
Audrey Pierce 

2. Next Course of Action

Next course of action is a good example of how to say next steps formally.

You can use this phrase in a presentation to your clients or employees to set out the direction your organization wants to go in.

Similarly, you can use it in an internal email to your employees to brief them on the general ongoings of your company.

Consider the example email below:

Dear All,

We will be holding a meeting in the boardroom on Thursday to discuss our next course of action for the year ahead.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Leona Topp (CEO)

3. Next Phase

You can use next phase when you’re talking to your colleagues about a long-term project that includes many different steps. 

“Phase” is a slightly broader term than “steps.” After all, “steps” usually refers to the actions your team or company intends to take. “Phase,” on the other hand, can refer to your broader plan for a project, including the actions your need to take and the circumstances in which you are operating.

Have a look at how we used this phrase in an email sample:

Dear Reabetswe,

I have attached a memorandum setting out the next phase of the Kimsky Project to move things forward.

Reach out if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

4. Way Forward

Way forward is simply a different way to say next steps, as it refers to the overall path your organization intends to follow for the future.

You can use this phrase in an email to your clients to let them know that your organization is on an exciting new path. Perhaps you are about to merge with another organization or introduce new ways of business.

Either way, it’s good to inform your clients of any big changes. Not only does it keep possible shareholders in the loop, but it shows your clients that your company is innovative and always looking to improve.

Check out this email example to see what we mean:

Dear Ms. Okoye,

In 2023, we are prioritizing environmentally responsible business practices, and we want YOU to be part of our new way forward.

For further details, please visit our website.

Yours sincerely,
Rajesh Singh

5. Subsequent Phases

Subsequent phases is simply a different way to refer to the next steps in a project at work.

This phrase comes across more formally. Therefore, you can use it in an email to your colleagues when you want to discuss a task you’re working on.

In general, using subsequent phases will help you maintain a serious and professional tone in your correspondence.

Moreover, the use of “phases” refers to more than just the actions your coworkers need to take regarding the project. It refers to what will come next in the task more broadly.

Have a look at the example below:

Dear Reese,

I think we should consider this client feedback as we enter subsequent phases of our new promotion strategy.

Please let me know what you think.


6. Road Ahead

Road ahead is a figurative expression that you can use in more informal exchanges with your employees.

After all, if you have a friendly and casual dynamic in your office, there’s no need to employ formal phrases when you’re discussing your work endeavors.

Moreover, speaking to your employees as equals helps to build a strong rapport based on mutual respect in the workplace.

Like the phrase way forward, road ahead refers to the more long-term journey of a company.

Thus, have a look at how we’ve employed this phrase in the following example:

Hi All,

I appreciate all your hard work throughout the year.

Your efforts have paved the road ahead for this organization, and each of you should be very proud.

Warm regards,
Olivia Trim (Manager)

7. New Chapter

New chapter is another idiom that you can use to refer to the next steps in your company’s overall progress and development.

Therefore, you can use this phrase in an email to your clientele and shareholders to let them know how your company intends to adapt to the ever-changing times. This will keep them interested in your services.

Check out the email example below:

Dear Mr. Heff,

Your support has made our business what it is today.

Therefore, we invite you to learn more about the exciting new chapter in our business development strategy.

Please see the attached brochure to learn more.

Yours sincerely,
Zelda Phrank

8. Next Move

You can use the phrase next move in your more casual exchanges with your coworkers. After all, this phrase sounds a tad more informal than next steps.

If you are in a busy office setting and are generally close with your peers, you can use more casual words to express how you want to go about a project.

To see what we mean, consider the email sample below:

Hi Jess,

I’d be keen to plan our next move in a meeting this afternoon.

Will you be around?

All the best,

9. Further Actions

Another way to say next steps is to talk about your further actions in respect of a particular task or project.

This phrase comes across rather formally, so you can use it in an email to a coworker whom you aren’t particularly close with.

Additionally, this phase is more clearly centered around what physical actions the recipient will need to take. In other words, it sounds very instructive. Therefore, you can also use it if you are a superior in the work hierarchy.

Check out the following example:

Dear Ian,

I have attached a list of further actions to be taken for the setting up of Mr. Greene’s trust.

Please report back to me once these steps are completed.


10. What Comes Next

What comes next is a more casual phrase that you can use when discussing your business direction with your employees in a clear and direct way.

Depending on your organization’s culture, you may choose to speak in a less formal manner when discussing your business with your employees. This ensures that everyone is on the same page, whatever their rank or background.

Therefore, let’s see a sample email making use of this phrase:

Hi Team,

It’s been a very hectic few months, and I appreciate all the work each of you has put into your respective roles.

Below, I’ve attached a strategy map to prepare you all for what comes next after the merge.

All the best,
Bruce Towers

Kahlan House