This difference between onliners is how each handles their errors in judgment or oversights as well as those of others (READ: Give and Take Corrections with Grace) once we discover they have been made. With e-mail in particular, the biggest mistake made is simply not paying attention to what you are doing in the first place.
The majority have adopted a way too casual viewpoint of e-mail so therefore they don’t give it the attention that it deserves and requires to be used properly (a.k.a. E-mail Etiquette).
Hitting Reply to All with comments about some of those you are inadvertently Replying to, or adding folks to your e-mail blasts that didn’t ask you to, or even forwarding to all your contacts with their e-mail addresses exposed in the To: field rather than using the BCc: field as you should, are some of the top instances of when you will hear from disgruntled recipients.
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!
Part of using technology and e-mail 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 that are improper, rude or plain old unacceptable, you need to humbly apologize. And, not by e-mail. Have some intestinal fortitude and apologize in person or if that is not possible, pick up the telephone and give them a call.
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 and 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.
Why we are a culture that is prone to point fingers or create excuses when we mess up is beyond me. We certainly didn’t get to where we are today with that attitude! If you make a mistake, don’t compound the issue by offering up reasons as to why you weren’t paying attention or do not understand the technology in which you are participating.
Learning from the experience and offering a prompt apology is the only proper response and a true sign character.