Email Tips to Prevent Career Damaging Blunders
much-used pencil eraser

Email is essential to good corporate communications. But everyone has the potential to participate in a career-damaging blunder. Here’s some career help to prevent this.

My blunder came when I was on a team managing a very large high-profile national account. Our client contact was hard to deal with—rude, and extremely demanding. One day we received an emailwith her demands. Our team lead responded with an email meant just for our internal team. However, the lead forgot to remove the customer’s email address.

A minute later there was a frantic attempt to recall the email. Too late—it had gone to the customer. The email read:

“The wicked witch of the west is back on her broomstick. Which one of you wants to respond?”

Three negative outcomes resulted:
1) The team lead who sent this email was terminated,
2) The customer moved thousands of dollars of their business to a competitor, and
3) There was substantial damage done to our brand.

These “do’s and don’ts” would have helped us avoid all this:

Do: Only click Reply All when necessary. Remove other addresses on the thread that do not pertain to your response.
Do Not: Click Reply All every time you receive an email with multiple people on the thread.

Do: Be professional in your communications. Use good grammar and choose your words carefully. If writing is not one of your strong points, type your message in Microsoft Word first, check it for accuracy using Microsoft Editor, then copy and paste it into an email. Spell check and built-in grammar help will alleviate most errors.
Do Not: Send poorly written emails. It makes you look unprofessional and uneducated. It gives the impression that you do not care.

Do: Respond within 24 hours or sooner, even if you don’t have an answer right away. At least let the sender know that you have received their message and set an expectation for a follow up.
Do Not: Take days, weeks, months to RESPOND!

Do: Send email when you are in a good frame of mind.
Do Not: Send email when you are angry! Wait a while until cooler heads prevail to prevent firing off any potential “zingers.”

Do: Send email at appropriate times of the day.
Do Not: Send email late at night or after you have been drinking.

Do: Be very careful when replying from your mobile. Autocorrect can lead to some embarrassing messages.
Do Not: Send email without first reading it over a few times. Especially when sending from your smart device.

This simple, common sense career help can be a life-saver when you remember to apply it!


Beth Kelzer
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