Last week’s episode of Modern Family taught us all the harsh lesson of once you click ‘Send’ you can’t take it back. In case you missed it, Gloria and Jay are about to go on vacation, but their plans are interrupted after Gloria accidentally sends an insulting (and very personal) email to Claire. Instead of heading to the airport, they take a detour by the Dunphy’s house to apologize and try to do some damage control.
We’ve all done it at one time or another. You know those times when you type up an email, enter the recipient name in the ‘to’ field and click ‘send’? After the email has most likely already arrived in the inbox of our recipient, we realize that we shouldn’t have clicked send so soon. It can be an embarrassing and even disastrous mistake. This simple slip-up could cause major turmoil in our personal and professional relationships and maybe even harm our careers.
In a recent US News article, they outlined the 18 work email mistakes most commonly made and some tips to prevent them. Here are my top five email mistakes that I’ll blushingly fess up to.
- Composing the note too quickly. Don't be careless—write every email as if it will be read at Saint Peter's Square during the blessing of a new Pope. Be respectful with your words and take pride in every communication.
- Forgetting the attachment. If your email includes an attachment, upload the file to the email before composing it. This eliminates the embarrassing mistake of forgetting it before hitting ‘send’ and having to send another email saying you forgot to attach the document.
- Hitting "reply all" unintentionally. This is a biggie. And it's not just embarrassing; depending on what you wrote in that email, it can ruin your relationship with a co-worker or even your boss. Take extra care whenever you respond so you don't hit this fatal button.
- Emailing when you're angry. Don't do it. Ever. Recall buttons are far from a perfect science and sending a business email tainted by emotion is often a catastrophic mistake. It sounds cliche, but sleep on it. Save the message as a draft and see if you still want to send it the next morning.
- Sending to the wrong recipient. This wasn’t on the original list, but I felt like it needed to be included because it’s one of my most infuriating mistakes. Always check and re-check what’s in the ‘to’ line and hopefully we can avoid mistakes such as the one Gloria made.
What are your email horror stories? How do you avoid committing the email mistakes we all fear could be disastrous?