Yep, it happens to the best of us. Even after triple checking your email before you send it, there’s still a chance that you’ll get that dreaded sinking feeling when you discover you’ve accidentally signed off with an ‘xx’ to your boss.
Let’s assess and fix some of these common email faux pas.
I forgot to add my attachment.
Ok, this one doesn’t signal the end of the world. The best thing to do here is to resend your message with an added note to say, “Oops, here’s the attachment I mentioned.”
Do not reply to the original email with the attachment and no explanation. If it keeps happening, set up a detector that will scan for key words like ‘attachment’ in your email before you send it.
I made a spelling mistake.
Again, not too bad. However if you’re a stickler for good spelling you’ll be kicking yourself for this one. Unless your error is going to confuse the message you’re trying to get through, let it slide.
If it is offensive (i.e. sh!t instead of ship), it may be appropriate to resend your message with an added note to say, “Oh dear, apologies for the typo. That should read ‘ship’.”
I hit Reply All instead of Reply.
Hitting the wrong button can be devastating, depending on your email content and who should actually see it.
The easiest way to avoid this happening is to forward the email and manually add in your intended recipient. And if you are sending out a group email, it may be appropriate to put everyone’s addresses in the BCC field to save them from the same mistake.
I added an ‘xx’ in my signature.
This one depends on the rapport you have with your colleagues. It may be something you can ignore, or it may require a laugh at your expense around the water cooler.
Whatever happens, make sure it doesn’t become a habit. And if you get an ‘xx’ in reply, then it may be time to reassess your relationships…
Can I un-send that?
Generally, no. Once an email leaves your outbox, there’s not much you can do about it. If your email client has a recall option, don’t use it. They don’t often work, and tend to draw more attention to your mistake.
Instead, live with the consequences and take one of the approaches above.
Have you ever sent an embarrassing email? Share your story below!