5 Email Blunders You Can Avoid

Avoidable Blunder #1: You reply to an invite for an office event and add how much you don’t want to sit by your stinky coworker. One Problem: You just hit reply all and your stinky coworker now knows exactly how you feel.

Avoid it: Most email clients give you the ability to delete or move the options in your toolbar. Delete the “Reply All” button off the toolbar altogether or move it significantly away from the “Send” button so that you’re only likely to hit it when you really want to reply to all.

Avoidable Blunder #2: A customer service worker ends an apologetic message with, “Sorry for any incontinence (inconvenience) this may have caused you.” Or, you greet the new guy with a welcome message that reads, “Hell (Hello) Tom, Welcome to the team.”

Avoid it: If you forget to spell check, most email clients include an option to automatically spell check before sending or while you’re typing. However, spell check doesn’t catch everything so re-read emails aloud to catch inconsistencies or save your message as a draft, switch tasks, and come back with fresh eyes after a few hours.

Avoidable Blunder #3: During application season, a university sent out emails on behalf of a computer company with the subject line, “You’re Accepted.” The recipients assumed they’d gotten into college when it was really that they’d been “accepted” for a product special.

Avoid it: While you’re re-reading your email to make sure you haven’t apologized for incontinence, think about word choice. If you’re making a request, include all required information. If you’re delivering difficult news, be sensitive and impart empathy as appropriate. Also, make sure you use words that your recipient understands or define anything unfamiliar to avoid misconceptions.

Avoidable Blunder #4: An email chain starts out complaining about a new company policy and the person responsible for it and evolves into a discussion about an upcoming project. The email is then forwarded to another department to share the ideas on the new project – without realizing the entire chain, including the policy complaints, were forwarded too.

Avoid it: Before you forward a message read all the way through it and cut out unnecessary or inflammatory information. Most importantly, remember that anything written and sent in an email is is saved and can be pulled up in seconds to haunt you.

Avoidable Blunder #5: You finally perfected that huge report and the last step is getting approvals. You fire off an email to executives and managers that explains the report and requests approval, then proudly hit send. An hour later, you get a dozen emails asking for the attachment.

Avoid it: As soon as you open up an email that requires an attachment, attach it. You can also tap email programs, like Microsoft Outlook, to create rules to hold emails with certain words like “attachment” or “included” to give yourself a send delay long enough to remember to attach that file. Rackspace Email Webmail does the work for you. If you’ve used the word “attachment” in the body and nothing is attached, you’ll be prompted to confirm if want to send without an attachment.

With the ramifications of a business email blunder ranging from extreme embarrassment to job loss, taking a few extra moments to exercise due diligence is well worth the effort to help you remain blunder- free.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a Rackspace Marketing Copywriter with a decade of experience writing about small business challenges for healthcare, real estate, and technology. Her passion is researching and writing about the impact of cloud computing. When she's not wordsmithing, she enjoys hanging out with her sons, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and feeding her music addiction.


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