Here are the most common professional email mistakes to look out for before you make the mistake yourself — and how to mend the mistakes you do make. (You’re not the first person to do it and certainly won’t be the last.)
1. Sending a misdirected email. Depending on the content, a misdirected email can range from slightly embarrassing to job-ending. As hard as it is to remain calm and panic-free, stay calm and gauge the situation. Is it something slightly embarrassing, like talking about happy hour plans to someone who wasn’t on the invite list, or is it worst case scenario, like sending an email about your boss to your entire office. Suss out the situation and develop a plan of action for damage control.
How to fix it: Depending on the severity of it, seek out the person you emailed and apologise. Let them know that the email wasn’t intended to go to them and you’ll be more careful in the future. Once the apology is accepted – don’t dwell on it. If the email you sent contained confidential info for someone who wasn’t meant to see it, make sure to alert your HR immediately.
Moving forward, it’s a good rule of thumb to never send emails bashing anyone on your team, no matter who it is really intended for.
2. Not having a clear, concise subject line. Having a clear subject line is not only more professional, but it makes the receiver of your email more likely to pay attention to it. You might be in the habit of sending emails with no subject line or informal ones to the coworkers you’re friends with, but make sure that when you’re sending an important email, the subject line gives them a look into the contents – like typing “June Invoice” in the subject line.
3. Sending emails that are too informal. Obviously, some offices are more formal than others. If you’re starting a new job, start off on the formal side and adjust accordingly based on how people are emailing you. Once you get a feel of how people communicate with each other, try to fit the mold — nobody wants super formal emails in a casual setting or vice versa.
4. Using your personal email address. Once you get your work email address, make sure to stick exclusively to that. When you’re going back and forth with your boss or a PR contact, you don’t want to accidentally send it from email@example.com
5. Going overboard with exclamation marks. Women tend to overuse exclamation marks more than men. Women can be paranoid that not ending a sentence with an exclamation point can sound off as rude or critical, but that isn’t the case — and using too many exclamation points can have the reverse effect and make you come off as unprofessional.
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