Let’s talk about your email “out box” because a recent AOL poll found that 32% of people have mistakenly sent email to the wrong person at one time or another. That means that of the 55 BILLION emails sent daily, there’s a good chance that one in three are misdirected! Unfortunately, sending an errant email isn’t like dialing a wrong phone number – where you can just hang up. Because if the wrong person reads your email, it could mean upsetting a close friend, losing a big client, or getting yourself fired! So here’s how to avoid the potential embarrassment of a misdirected email, according to CNN.

  • See if you can “unsend” your email. The catch with unsending is that the other person has to be using the same email service as you. For example, AOL users can only “unsend” emails to other AOL users and Microsoft Outlook offers a “recall” function that’ll erase unread emails from the in-box of other people using Microsoft Outlook! Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee these will work before your email gets read.
  • Forget the “reply all” button even exists! That’s the word from Roger Matus, who writes a blog called Death By Email. He says there’s rarely a good reason to use “reply all.” Many times, there are people who were blind copied on the original email, who you’ll be replying to without even realizing it – like your boss.
  • Also, when addressing your email: Always type a person’s full address in the “send to” bar. Some email programs will automatically fill out a name based on people in your address book. So if you only type a few letters, the program might fill in the wrong name. Make sure you double check your recipient list before you click “send.”
  • If you DO send an errant email: Experts say you should notify the recipient immediately. Call and explain that the email was a mistake, and ask them to not read the message – if that’s still possible. If it’s too late, you should apologize in person – because a face-to-face apology lets them know from your expression that you really regret what happened. If it’s a business contact who received your email, and there’s a chance of getting sued, notify your company’s legal department immediately.