We have all committed e-mail mistakes. We have seen a personal message sent to one recipient appear on mailing lists, we have sent impulsive e-mails while hot-headed, we have accidentally sent e-mails to the wrong recipients, we have misspelled names of important people, and so forth.
- 43% of the respondents asked for the ability to un-send a message that has not been read
- 43% of the respondents asked for the ability to track where an e-mail has been forwarded
- 27% of the respondents asked for a lock on e-mail so it cannot be forwarded
- 27% of the respondents asked for a pop-up that asks the user to double-check who they are sending the e-mail to
- 14% of the respondents asked for the ability to un-send a message that has already been read
Guidelines to Avoid E-mail Embarrassments
The technology of e-mails is such that you lose control over the content and distribution of an e-mail message as soon as you send it. Here are a few guidelines to avoid potential embarrassments from e-mails.
- Be judicious to whom you send e-mail to, and who you copy on e-mails. Use the ‘To’ field to list e-mail addresses of people who need to take action. Use the ‘CC’ (carbon copy) field to list e-mail addresses of people who need to be informed. Do not copy e-mails just to keep other people ‘in-the-loop.’
- ‘Reply to All’ only if you really need your message to be read by everyone who received the original message.
- Always examine the ‘To’ field before you compose a personal reply to an e-mail you received through a mailing list.
- Do not forward to any message you received via ‘BCC’ (blind carbon copy.) Reply to the sender only, if necessary.
- Ask the sender for appropriateness before forwarding any sensitive information you received from him/her.
- Assume that any message that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood. Proof-read the content before you send out e-mails. Read the message from the recipients’ perspective and examine if you can edit your composition to avoid possible misinterpretations.
- Never send an e-mail when angry. After composing the e-mail, wait for an hour or two before sending your e-mail. Examine alternate means for relaying your information and closing the communication loop.