Few communications tools give you as much exposure as e-mail and there are plenty of ways to mishandle your messages and make mistakes. Depending on who sees your e-mail, your job, reputation, or career could suffer.
These top 5 tips will help you to avoid some of the most common mistakes.
1. Email ‘Auto-fill’ – Sending an email to the wrong recipient?
Be careful, almost all email clients will have an ‘auto-fill’ feature for the ‘To:’ field. By not checking the email address it has added is the correct one you can send all sorts of information to completely the wrong people.
For instance, if you wanted to send information to ‘John Thompson’ but also had a ‘John Brown’ in your contacts just typing ‘John’ and hitting enter will add ‘John Brown’ as the recipient because of alphabetisation.
By taking an extra second to check this you will not only send the email to the correct person but will also save time by not having to re-send the message to the correct person.
2. Replying to all – Is it necessary?
Before you reply to all, have a think about whether or not it is really necessary.
Does everybody need to see your response? Does your reply benefit everybody that will receive it? In situations like this it may be better to use the simple reply option. Otherwise, your private disagreement or conversation becomes public.
3. Accidently sending an email early?
Have you ever accidently sent an email that wasn’t complete? The best way to avoid this problem is to leave the ‘To:’ field blank until after the email is ready to be sent. This way if you do accidently click the ‘Send’ button nothing will happen because the program will not know where to send it.
When replying to an email you can do exactly the same just cut the addressee, write your email and paste the addressee back in the ‘To:’ field when you are ready to send.
4. Forgotten to add the Attachments?
How many times have you sent an email in which you refer to files that you have forgotten to attach?
You can avoid this mistake by attaching those files first, before you even start to write your email.
5. Sending sensitive data? – Send a test message
When sending an email to a person you haven’t sent one to before, especially if the information or data is sensitive, you should send a test message to that person first to make sure that you haven’t mistyped the address or misheard the person telling you.
If the person replies with a confirmation, you know the address you entered is correct.
Copying and pasting addresses may eliminate any mistakes, but be aware that the address you are copying could very well be incorrect, so sending a test message would still be a good idea.
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