Have you ever bitched about a colleague in an email and forwarded it to that person by accident? Or written a confidential e-mail but then accidentally hit 'Reply to All' when you only meant to hit 'Reply'?
Sending an email in error can be a minor embarrassment – or its can cost you your job. Yet, with some two-million emails sent globally every second* it’s no wonder that most of us have, at some time, forgotten our netiquette and committed an email faux pas which has ended up causing offence, embarrassment, annoyance or even got us the sack.
officebroker.com - the UK’s leading online broker ofserviced office space
works with over 90% of the UK’s serviced office space providers and landlords and has access to thousands of office workers and business across the country.
Here, the company reveals some of the most embarrassing email blunders it has come across:
- A Business Manager who accidentally sent details of all his employees’ salary on a company group email. Realising his error, he set the fire alarm off to clear the office before going round and deleting the email from every inbox.
- An ad agency which received a request from a client whose company manufactured mobility equipment to: “Produce a brochure about our ‘wa*king aids.”
- Following a sick day, an employee who sent an email to a friend explaining his illness was due to ‘class A’s’. Unfortunately, he sent it to everyone in his company including the senior management. He now works elsewhere!
- A company which included 24,000 email addresses in the ‘To’ box of a message. Many intended recipients probably never got to the actual message because it took them so long to scroll down to it!
- An IT professional who unwittingly managed to ‘out’ a pal to his family. Having received a chatty group email from his mate who had moved to New York, he replied suggesting it would be a great opportunity for him to find himself a new man – only he had hit ‘Reply to All’, thus revealing his friend’s hidden sexuality to his nearest and dearest!
- Whilst having an e-conversation with a friend, a business man referred to a third friend’s wife in a very insulting manner. The e-conversation progressed onto arrangements for a night out which the friend then forwarded on to the third party – forgetting the disparaging comment which he had earlier made about this person’s wife. Not surprisingly, the planned night out didn’t go ahead!
- A police officer who sent an email to her colleagues asking: “who stole my yoghurt out of the fridge? Unfortunately she accidentally sent the email to the entire West Midlands police force and received many a reply including…. “Do you need CID? Have you sealed off the area? Has the dog unit been called?”
With 42 e-blunders happening every minute of the day **, it’s no wonder that most of us have had to deal with an e-horror at some point in our working lives.
Email is by far our preferred means of communication but the key to successful netiquette is to:
- Slow down – after writing an email give yourself a brief cooling off period before hitting the send button
- When replying to an email ask yourself – do you want to just reply to the sender or reply to all – hitting the wrong key can cause all sorts of problems
- When forwarding on an email conversation remember to scroll down to ensure that there is nothing in pervious emails that you don’t want the recipient to see.
- Be careful forwarding on ‘joke’ emails – your recipients may not always appreciate them, especially if the jokes are offensive in any way.
- Don’t write your email ‘IN CAPS’ because the recipient may think you’re SHOUTING AT THEM!
- A business email account should not be used for personal correspondence - emails from a business account are considered official company communications and they may be monitored.
So stop, think and then think again – only when you are sure you are happy with your email and who it is being sent to should you ever hit ‘Send’.
*Radicati Group (March 06)
** Lycos (March 06)
Caroline Barnes or Anssah Hussain
Powell Communication Consultants
T: 0161 8285400
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