Emails are effective, instantaneous forms of communication, but it’s important to be careful of what you send and who you send it to. From a simple “joke” shared with a colleague to a real breach of privacy, making a mistake by email can haunt you for years to come. Take these few easy precautions to avoid making an embarrassing or potentially career-ending gaffe:
Double-check recipients before pressing send. We’ve all accidentally sent an email to the wrong person before. Autopopulate functionality is extremely helpful, but it can also wreak havoc by popping in a recipient’s email address that’s awfully close to the one of the person you’re actually trying to reach. Always make sure the email address is correct before sending.
Draft it then delete it. Venting to a colleague? Sending an off-color joke to a friend? Indulging in a little “harmless” gossip? Stop and think it over before you press send. Try imagining what might transpire if the wrong person read that email. If that’s a terrifying thought, delete the email ASAP. You don’t want to suffer from sender’s remorse or risk serious repercussions.
Be wary of “Reply All.” Sometimes, we think we’re sending a private remark to the sender of the email, neglecting to realize that there’s 10 people cc’d and we’ve just hit Reply All. Take the time to make sure you indeed want to respond to everyone in a group email. If you only want to respond to one person or exclude someone from the group, the safest thing to do is start a fresh email altogether.
Use your private email for private stuff. No matter who you work for, it’s never a good practice to use your work email for private correspondence and your private email to send work-related information. Separating the personal from the professional is always the way to go.
Practicing these common-sense habits will keep your correspondence squeaky clean and help you avoid a communications snafu. Happy emailing!