‘OH S#*T’ UNSEND! UNSEND!

Send icon and cursor on monitor, close-upWe have all been in that situation, that awkward feeling in our stomach we get after we hit the send button and realize we made a major error.  Sorry, but “Recall That Message’’ doesn’t always work, especially if you are like me and usually open e-mails instantly – or you accidentally send an e-mail to the wrong coworker.

In addition to e-mail mistakes, some e-mails probably shouldn’t be sent at all. Have you ever looked at your inbox at the end the of the week and saw all the e-mails that probably didn’t need to get sent? Not that this is a huge issue, sometimes excess messages just make it impossible to find the “message through the noise.”

So this is where CT Michaels comes in.  Here are five general questions that you should probably ask yourself BEFORE you hit the send button:

Do I need to send this e-mail? Would it be more effective to pick up the phone? Whether it be to a coworker, supervisor or your friend, sometimes it’s just easier to pick up the phone and ask the question.  Not only does it increase personal interaction, but talking to someone can develop a more personal relationship.  To a reporter, if you are scheduling something, or confirming an interview, just pick up the phone. It’s not 1952 anymore and we don’t need to have every little detail in writing.

Did I spell the reporter and client’s name right? Did I use the proper name of the client to an outside source? I’ve done it tons of times, I’m talking to Sally, but e-mailing Kathy, but Kathy doesn’t like to be called Sally and some get quite offended.  It could be a great chance to joke around with them, but some people don’t always have a sense of humor and why take the chance? A general rule, just pay attention to the names – I know tons of people that have addressed people by their last name, thinking it was their first – Taylor James, Chad Ryan, Steve Martin…Oh and a major issue – if you have a code name, or simple name for a client, make sure you didn’t type the code name in an e-mail.  That could be utterly disastrous.

Did I proofread it? Desert does not equal Dessert. Enough Said.  Oh yeah, if you are doing a mail merge through Microsoft Word, the SUBJECT line does not get spell checked, so make sure that you really check that. “Exlusive – Secrets of the Toy Industry” Did I proofread it again?

Would I be better served by sitting on my response and giving it more thought? Something may look amazing at first, but it definitely may require more thought. What I have learned is to chill out and not instantly reply. If something was an emergency they would have called. So consult your peers about something that could go a negative way.

Finally, If I BCC’d someone, and they hit reply all, not seeing that they were BCC’d will that create a problem? Uhh. I hope you didn’t say anything bad.

*Esc* Can be your best friend during a mail merge! I feel bad for people that work at publications at the beginning of the alphabet, or people with a last name at the beginning of the alphabet. They probably get so many e-mails twice because the e-mail goes through too fast and we arent quick enough to hit the Esc key!

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  • Laney

    Oh CT,

    The recall function is scary. Sometimes I wonder what is better – having a client see a mistake or hitting the recall button. I once sent an email to a client with a mistake in the attachment. I wanted to reply all apologizing and asking them to review the new email attachment but my boss urged me to hit the recall button and then send a new one.

    To me the recall is more glaring than having a misspelled or missing word. But, it all essentially goes back to PROOFREAD.

    I have also had moments when people misread my tone in an email because I sent it too quickly. That's a skill I am still trying to hone.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Laney –

    I used to attach the wrong files all the time! That is the worst, especially with confidential stuff! ugh!

  • @jaykeith

    As someone with two first names, it absolutely drives me bonkers when someone starts an email, “Hi Keith, good to hear from you!” You're not glad to hear from me because you got my name wrong. Obviously I didn't make THAT much of an impression. And now I'm pretty much going to be mad at you and think you're less intelligent than you really are, so I hope it was worth it.

    But the larger post is so, so true. It takes two seconds to double check and make sure that everything in an is accurate, yet NOT taking those two seconds can ruin a relationship or at the very least make you look really, really lazy and even incompetent.

    It's the little things in life and the attention to detail that set the high value performers from the rest, it's just very easy to be lazy, and too many people choose that path.

  • jeffespo

    CT – as usual great post on pointing out something that all of us think and have experienced, but just don't admit. Kudos.

    I have fallen victim to BCCing someone because I needed to see proper title – only to have a hey, why the hell am I getting this email.

    Overall your best point was the almighty word Proofread.

    TTFN

  • Laney

    Oh CT,

    The recall function is scary. Sometimes I wonder what is better – having a client see a mistake or hitting the recall button. I once sent an email to a client with a mistake in the attachment. I wanted to reply all apologizing and asking them to review the new email attachment but my boss urged me to hit the recall button and then send a new one.

    To me the recall is more glaring than having a misspelled or missing word. But, it all essentially goes back to PROOFREAD.

    I have also had moments when people misread my tone in an email because I sent it too quickly. That's a skill I am still trying to hone.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Laney –

    I used to attach the wrong files all the time! That is the worst, especially with confidential stuff! ugh!

  • @jaykeith

    As someone with two first names, it absolutely drives me bonkers when someone starts an email, “Hi Keith, good to hear from you!” You're not glad to hear from me because you got my name wrong. Obviously I didn't make THAT much of an impression. And now I'm pretty much going to be mad at you and think you're less intelligent than you really are, so I hope it was worth it.

    But the larger post is so, so true. It takes two seconds to double check and make sure that everything in an is accurate, yet NOT taking those two seconds can ruin a relationship or at the very least make you look really, really lazy and even incompetent.

    It's the little things in life and the attention to detail that set the high value performers from the rest, it's just very easy to be lazy, and too many people choose that path.

  • jeffespo

    CT – as usual great post on pointing out something that all of us think and have experienced, but just don't admit. Kudos.

    I have fallen victim to BCCing someone because I needed to see proper title – only to have a hey, why the hell am I getting this email.

    Overall your best point was the almighty word Proofread.

    TTFN