E-mail is a great way to save time when communicating, and it’s the primary way most people converse at work. However, with all of the advantages that e-mailing offers, there are also many problems that come along with it that keep lawyers across the nation happily and profitably busy.
Don’t let any of these email blunders happen to you…
Mistake #5 – Not Reading the Email Properly
First, many people don’t take the time to read an e-mail thoroughly before replying, which causes mistakes and time wasting in communication. Of course, when you are the one writing the email, you have to be careful about the way you write it. Make sure that you’ve checked spelling and grammar, and that you’ve attached everything properly.
Mistake #4 – Confusing Tone
Another common problem with e-mail is in terms of tone. Jokes and sarcasm can be difficult to translate in an e-mail, and if someone takes the message the wrong way, problems will undoubtedly ensue. Adding smiley faces can improve communication with your co-workers if you feel a statement you’ve made is ambiguous, but this is a business faux pas that you must avoid like the plague if you want to be thought of as professional. Nothing telegraphs incompetence like a business email packed with smileys.
Mistake #3 – Sending Angry Emails
You should also make sure that you think through your message in an e-mail. If you are angry with something that someone says, you might be tempted to send out a retaliatory email, but this is a huge mistake. Instead, take a walk to the water cooler and cool down (no pun intended). Always send levelheaded messages and proofread everything you send out. You will receive more respect for your supervisor and peers if you’re responsible with your words and respectful to everyone you’re working with.
Mistake #2 – Forwarding Sensitive Information
When you reply to the email, the original message is usually included beneath your reply. If you are going back and forth between opposing parties – for instance, working with your boss via email to agree on a financial deal for a client – you may end up inadvertently forwarding a personal or derogatory comment from your boss to the client, in the ’email chain’ below the message. Always play it safe at work and set your email account so it doesn’t include the original message in the reply.
Mistake #1 – Hitting ‘Reply All’
Ah, the wonderful ‘Reply All’ button. So useful when you’re sending out group party invites, so devastating to your career when you shoot a snide comment to a co-worker, and then discover you’ve sent the rude remark to your whole team…. including your boss. Save your job by making a habit of always double checking the ‘CC’ and BCC’ fields before you send each email. Your career will thank you for it.
As a final note, make sure that you always abide by the company policies at your work regarding e-mailing. Also, remember that emails are still a paper trail, albeit a virtual one. Never send anything in an email unless you are certain you want it preserved forever in the system. Ask yourself if you’ll keep your character and reputation intact after sending the email, and if it respects the environment you work in. Avoid gossiping, complaining, and sending out annoying chain letters that can easily disrupt the office environment if your email falls into the wrong hands.
If in doubt – say it in person, don’t put it in an email.