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Email Bloopers: Read This Before You Hit 'Send'

You should really take an extra minute to review your emails before you send. Why? In this fast-paced world, you might just slip up.
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We live in an ultra fast-paced world. Sending texts, IMs, and e-mails from our smartphones has become commonplace. But with all this speed, are we sacrificing quality business communications? Let's look at a few examples.

After a phone conversation with a potential new partner, I agreed to connect the person with our internal contact. We got an e-mail from their contact and here's an excerpt: "I lead of strategic alliances group and think there are some really interesting opportunities work together."

Now, I'm not trying to be the grammar police here. Far from it. But what I'm trying to point out is that when you're trying to cultivate a new business partnership with someone, you may want to slow down just enough to give your note a quick read-through before you hit send. Step away from the e-mail for a minute or two, then go back with a fresh set of eyes and read every single word one more time.

Here's another cringe-worthy example of an e-mail subject line I got some time ago, but I've kept it in my inbox as a reminder that trying to be cheeky or funny can go too far: "Go South for VD--Fares from $9* each way!" Looks like they went south with their subject line. If you ever question yourself whether something is acceptable or not, it's probably not. Better yet, do a gut-check and ask some of your co-workers if you are unsure.

Ready for another? Check out this example of an industry invitation to a conference (I've covered company details to protect the identity, which clearly fell victim to a copy and paste from Word error.

Example of Copy & Paste from Word error

There's an easy way not to fall victim to this: Just don't copy and paste from a Word document directly into your e-mail. Instead, copy and paste your text into a simple text editor that strips out any extra formatting. Many content publishing tools out there (including e-mail service providers) will add erroneous characters that will make your message look like gobbledygook. Not cool.

Here's one of my favorites, because the sender made a mistake in his first email, but immediately addressed it with humor and a dose of humility.

Here is the first e-mail excerpt with the error:

If you have a blog, web show or podcast and have been asking yourself that question: "How the heck do I make money from this in a really cool way that is sleazy?" this is going to be for you.

Then almost immediately I got another e-mail with this message:

"Whoops worst typo ever in the last email I just sent.

Wow that was classic. This is what happens when caffeine wears off.

Here is the sentence I wrote in the last email:

"If you have a blog, web show or podcast and have been asking yourself that question: "How the heck do I make money from this in a really cool way that is sleazy?" this is going to be for you." Of course, what I meant was...

"If you have a blog, web show or podcast and have been asking yourself that question: "How the heck do I make money from this in a really cool way that is non-sleazy?" this is going to be for you.

Sigh. Not to use a hash tag in an email but.... #holycrapwhatatypoIneedtogotobedsotomorrowIdontdosomethinglikethat.

:)  D

What a great way to handle a mistake and leave your readers still loving you.

Have you made a business communication error and how did you handle it? Share in the comments.

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Last updated: Jul 8, 2013




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