A site visitor writes:
I was wondering if you had any advice about the best thing to do when you accidentally “mis-send” an email to the wrong person–whether it’s embarrassing, like a complaint meant for a co-worker that you inadvertently send to your boss, or something more simple, like hitting “reply to all” when you only meant to respond to the sender. Can you give advice about what you should do when you realize your mistake?
The only thing you can do is to humbly apologize for the error. Don’t make excuses for why this happened – you made a mistake because you were not paying attention to what buttons you were hitting. This happens on occasion and is generally due to simply not paying attention.
If your oversight has compromised trust or hurt someone’s feelings due to your “mis-send”, then I recommend a personal phone call or note to the party involved where you add a bit of groveling for your lack of attention to detail and courtesy is in order. Again, no excuses – only a sincere and genuine apology will do!
As with most things, there is a silver lining when this happens. The silver lining is that you won’t do it again and possibly cause hurt feelings or abuse someone’s trust. And that’s a good thing!