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Seven Typical Corporate Email Errors


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Generally you should use Five Points Verbal Response Test for your emails too. E-mail programs make it way easy to send e-mails that will deeply regret afterwards and do not provide necessary checks and balances. You need to create and follow the set of rules yourself, for example checking your e-mail against the recommendations below (which, naturally, are not absolute). Here are some common, and specific to email avoidable mistakes you should know about:

  1. Sending e-mail without carefully checking if all recipients are intended targets or automatically using "Reply All."
  2. Writing email that is more the three paragraphs long.  If something require more the three paragraphs phone call might be better.  Or you can create an instruction for the particular situation and put it in attachment.  Chances to add something questionable increase with the length of email and you do not want that.
  3. Failing to print and send email before sending. It is simply impossible to proofread successfully on the computer screen. Print it out, pick up something like an old-fashioned ruler, and read away, slowly, line by line.  And remember that spell checkers often substitute the wrong word to even more wrong ;-). It helps if a friend outside direct reports of your boss can read important emails before you send them.
  4. Writing e-mails that has negative for you legal overtones and consequences. Corporate mail usually is stored for six month. Sometimes longer. If it can bite you, use other communications channels.  
  5. Sending email  in anger. Always wait till the next morning. That gives you time to calm down. You will be surprised how silly some sentences and words will look the next morning. Be polite and reasonable. Have someone else edit your e-mail. The temptation to flame someone on e-mail can be overpowering; Eudora 6 even has a useful MoodWatch feature that warns you if your language gets too incendiary. But the key is not to send e-mail in an impulsive manner: it's you who will suffer at the end. Before sending e-mail flame, try to save the message to your drafts folder and let it  sit their for a night. Later at home you can show it to someone whose judgment and confidentiality you trust and only then decide if you really want to send it in the morning.
  6. Failing to follow e-mail etiquette. We all know we should be polite. Be extremely polite in your business emails. Etiquette  and courtesies, are just as important as with talking. May be more: if you report of authoritarian or micromanager any rule language may land you HR.  And there are other considerations involved in communicating in writing:
  7. Forgetting, or worse using wrong attachment. This seems obvious, but I can't tell you how many times I've received an e-mail with a missing attachment. Since we all do it occasionally, it shouldn't be a huge deal.

    However, if you consistently make this mistake, people (perhaps important people) may think you're losing your marbles. They might even hesitate to do business with you in the future. When you get ready to send your e-mail, think: "What am I forgetting?"

    File be damned. So your boss asks you to e-mail your quarterly report and instead you send photos from your vacation at the nudist colony. Could be worse, right? Wrong. Sending the wrong file attachment can cause all kinds of heartache.

    Double-check that you've attached the right file before you hit the Send button.

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