5 career-destroying email blunders

Photo courtesy Flickr user bengrey

Photo courtesy Flickr user bengrey

Email is a part of our corporate DNA, but even so, people sometimes behave like they are sending email for the first time. And these errors can have a significant impact on the way they're perceived in the office. Here are the 5 biggest "email don'ts."

Never resolve an email alias in a message about that individual. Here is the scenario: You're writing a scathing email about Emily to your manager or a co-worker. You're curious who Emily's manager is, so you enter her name in the CC field to check out her details in Outlook. Unfortunately, you forget to erase her before sending -- and congratulations... you've just sent the damaging email to her. Don't laugh: I've been the recipient of such a mail, and sent one just like it myself as well.

Don't BCC without good reason. You probably know that when you enter an addressee in the BCC field of an e-mail, that person gets the message, but everyone in the To and CC lines is unaware. Hence, the "blind" in BCC. The problems start when you use the BCC field as a way to mask recipients so they can see messages that it's not polite or ethical to share. For example: BCC'ing someone on a disciplinary e-mail. Just imagine what happens if the BCC recipient accidentally clicks Reply All or forwards the message to someone else. The charade is over, and the damage could be irreparable.

Don't send an emotional mail before counting to 100. Something upsetting happens, so you fire off an acidic email that lets a co-worker know exactly what you think of him. Or perhaps not so damaging, you just reply to an email with a sarcastic or condescending tone. Before you click Send, ask yourself what you hope to achieve -- and will it have the desired impact? Waiting a half hour and re-reading the message might make you realize there's no reason to send it -- delete the message and be the better man or woman.

Spell check, always. Are you that person who sends email riddled with typos? It looks unprofessional, and contributes to people thinking of you as sloppy and impulsive.

Don't use smug signature blurbs. Signatures that say things like "sent from my iPhone" might seem innocuous, but they can have unintended consequences. You might be trying to say, "I'm writing this on the go, so the message will be short and might have a few typos in it," but the signature can come off as snobbish, and possibly even poison relationships with partners or clients who might have adversarial relationships with your phone manufacturer.


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