7 ways to avoid embarrassing e-mail mistakes

Ever click “send” on an e-mail – and regret it later? It’s happened to most of us – in fact, nearly 8 in 10 executives admit to making a mistake sending e-mail.

It could be something as simple as a typo, or as serious as a confidential message sent to the wrong recipient.

Either way, it’s embarrassing – and avoidable. Here’s how you can make sure your e-mails stay error-free.

  • Clear your desktop of all distractions when you plan to respond to e-mail. If you don’t have time to respond right away, let the person know when they can expect to hear back – and wait to compose the message when you’re free of distractions.
  • Wait until you’ve completed the message before selecting recipients.
  • Run spell-check.
  • Only copy those people who need to be in on the conversation – and think carefully before hitting “reply all.”
  • Attach documents as soon as you refer to them in the e-mail – and verify they’re the right ones.
  • Always keep your tone professional.
  • If you’re upset, cool down before you hit send – and it’s an even better idea to talk in person.

0 thoughts on “7 ways to avoid embarrassing e-mail mistakes”

  1. It has happened to me and I am sure to many others. One of my most common mistakes is using the popup email addresses. I have, on several occasions, sent training evaluations and other emails to my attorney’s secretary instead of the intended manager…both have the same initials. She was kind enough to let me know I had sent her the information by mistake. My most regretable…I phoned a manager and slapped his wrist for not returning a completed document in a timely manner. He claimed he did not receive the information. I said I’m looking at the email I sent addressed to you 20 days ago. And then, I saw my mistake. I sent it to a person with the same name at a Dallas newspaper. The person in Dallas was not so kind as to let me know my mistake.

  2. I have an option to delay the sending of all email for a certain amount of time. A delay of a couple of minutes will help in the instances where you realize that you made a mistake a split second after hitting the send button.
    Also, I make it a habit to add any attachments before I do anything else, so that I will not send an email without its attachment.

  3. I completely agree with not adding in recipients until you are done with the entire e-mail. That has saved me numerous times. I also go back at the end of the email and open each attachment just to make sure it is the one I intended to send.

    I always set aside emails I create when I feel strong emotion and go back to reread them later. If an email is more than a casual response or question, I also go back to reread it and take out unnecessary words or phrases or replace pronouns with names when the person I am referring to is not clear.

    Lastly, I always read an email as if it will be submitted as a court document or used as evidence. Very sensitive subjects I reserve for phone calls. Especially if I don’t want it perceived the wrong way.

  4. I have the delay option set on my computer and the incidence of “sender’s regret” has decreased probably 95% for me. I highly recommend it. To set this up in Outlook, follow these steps:

    1) In the message, on the Options tab, in the More Options group, click Delay Delivery .
    2) Click Message Options.
    3) Under Delivery options, select the Do not deliver before check box, and then click the delivery date and time that you want.

    After you click Send, the message remains in the Outbox folder until the delivery time.

  5. Yes, I too have been a victim of embarrassing email mistakes. My most embarrassing was sending my husband a good morning email. I said, “good morning honey, I love you” and it went to a manager in my area(I was using the pop up emails). When I realized it, I called her and apologized and she laughed, all she said was, I figured it was not for me. Thank goodness it went to her and not the president of the company or some other VIP. I am also very infamouse for forgetting to add the attachment. So, I will definitely be using the advice of adding the attachment first.

  6. My coworker and I often proof read each others important e-mails to be sure they sound as they were intended. I have only sent an e-mail to the wrong person once, and it wasn’t critical.
    I agree with Patricia about phone calls instead for sensitive subjects, or if I really don’t want to leave an e-trail.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *