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We All Make E-mail Mistakes, Right?

Email Etiquette and Mistakes

We all handle our errors in judgment or oversights differently. There are those that Give and Take Corrections with Grace) once we discover mistakes have been made. Then, others, well they just become terse.

Think Before You Do

Many adopt a very casual view of email overall. Because of this, the tendency is to not give email communications the attention that is necessary. Informality should not be a global approach. I think you’ll agree that not every message should be written as though you are communicating with a longtime friend.

Not paying attention to what you are doing in the first place is the probably the primary contributor to avoiding mistakes and misunderstandings. A few examples of lack of attention, off the top of my head:

  • Hitting Reply to All with comments that do not apply to all those you are Replying to. Worse your reply includes derogatory comments about some included in that email chain.
  • Or, adding folks to your email blasts that didn’t ask you to.
  • How about forwarding to all your contacts with their email addresses exposed in the To: field rather than using the BCc: field?
  • Not taking the time to be clear and concise.

These are a few instances of when your actions may create disgruntled Recipients.

I get it. We are all busy and when it comes to emails, we just tap away to try and play catch-up or be able to clear our inbox. Contributing to this is that all too often Senders think they have a right to do what they want. You know the free speech thing. Online there are no rules, yada, yada, yada — wrong!

Using Technology Properly

One of the primary principles of using technology and email properly, is taking the time to think about how your actions can affect the other side. That is where my tag line comes from:

Using technology with knowledge, understanding and courtesy!

  • If you send comments inadvertently to the wrong person or that are improper, rude or plain old unacceptable, you need to humbly apologize. Have some intestinal fortitude and apologize in person or if that is not possible, pick up the telephone and give them a call. The sincerity of apologies are judged by the amount of effort put forth to offer them.
  • If a contact asks to be removed from your list, that they didn’t ask to be on in the first place, promptly, kindly and professionally honor their request. Be sure to apologize for any inconvenience. Only this approach may salvage the relationship and keep the door open for future communications.
  • When sending to everyone you know in the To: field thereby exposing your contacts to strangers; all you can do is grovel. There is no excuse for this breach of privacy and you need to let your contacts know you have now seen the light and will never do such a thing again.
  • Reading your email out loud, before clicking Send, can avoid misunderstanding due to lack of clarity.

Own Don’t Blame

Why we are a culture that is prone to point fingers or create excuses when we mess up is beyond me. Own your mistakes. If you make a error, don’t compound the issue by offering up excuses as to why you weren’t paying attention or typed what you did. You type it; you own it!

The Internet has been around for a quarter of a century, so there are no excuses for not knowing how to use it properly! Learning from your experiences and offering a prompt apology when required, is the only proper response and a true sign character.

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