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 simple precautions to avoid making an embarrassing or potentially career-ending gaffe.
Double check recipients before pressing send. Autopopulate functionality is extremely helpful, but it can also wreak havoc by popping in a recipient’s address that’s awfully close to the person you’re trying to reach… yet not them.
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.
Be wary of ‘Reply All.’ Sometimes, we think we’re sending a private remark to the sender of the email, neglecting to realize 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 on the email. Or start a fresh email chain altogether if you only want to address just one person(s) on the chain.
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. Separation of church and state 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!