EWS Blog

Dec 05, 2017

4 Embarrassing Email Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Man slapping face in embarrassment.
If you’re reading this blog it’s probably because you, like most Internet users, have at least one email address. It might be a personal address or a business address, but either way it can be used to stay in touch with your coworkers, employers, customers, family, friends, and other important people in your life. 

Surely when you send an email you want whoever receives it to read it, but that doesn’t mean every email you send is appropriate for all of the people in your contacts list. You probably wouldn’t talk to your boss the same way you speak to your child, and you certainly wouldn’t want to accidentally discuss sensitive company information with your insurance agent. 

Since you can’t unsend an email, it’s worth keeping an eye out for these mistakes that can land you in an embarrassing situation.

1) Ending with an Inappropriate Farewell
If you email your significant other, or other family members for that matter, you may be in the habit of ending your emails with an “I love you.” That’s a fine way to say goodbye to someone you do actually love; however, it can also be quite the embarrassing closer if you’re emailing your boss. 

Surprised man gesturing for viewer to back off.

Before you hit send, make sure to reread what you wrote so as to avoid sending the wrong signal. 

2) Hitting the Reply-All Button
There are plenty of good reasons to keep multiple people involved in an email chain. Doing so can make it easier to plan a party or to keep your whole office in the loop on an ongoing issue. There may also be a time where you want to break off and have a sidebar with one particular person in the chain.

Woman with glasses looking offended while reading email.

Imagine that you and your coworker are emailing back and forth with a troublesome client. You might want to coordinate a strategy to deal with that client, or even blow off some steam and commiserate about the nuisance with the one person who most shares your pain, your coworker. Neither is necessarily wrong to do, but if you type a message along the lines of “I can’t believe this guy is still complaining” and hit “Reply All,” then that nuisance of a client is likely to become an even greater pain in your side. 

3) Emailing the Wrong Contact
Many email platforms these days come equipped with an autofill function that offers suggestions or automatically enters recipients as soon as you start typing in the “To” or “CC” field. This can be quite handy, but also quite problematic if you have multiple contacts with similar names. You probably aren’t sending the same sort of email to your brother, Rick, as you are to your boss, Richard, so look before you click. Typing tools like autofill are helpful, but they’re far from perfect.

4) Sharing Sensitive or Secret Information
We all have information that needs to be kept confidential for one reason or another, so be careful about what you write. If your company is planning a special promotion you may be tempted to tell all your leads about it, but you should think before you act. Has your company announced this promotion yet? Could you benefit if you make a sale before the promo starts? 

Man in suit shushing the viewer.

Telling your leads about the promotion might get their interest, but if you spill the beans before the company is ready it may actually cost you revenue. Likewise, you probably don’t want to accidentally share your financial records with your coworker, or sensitive medical information with your boss. Consider how private any of the information in your email ought to be before sharing it with the wrong person or at the wrong time. 

Proper grammar and spelling are only one part of sending quality, professional emails. If you’re at all concerned with keep up appearances, then you should avoid simple mistakes that can irritate your reader or embarrass you.