Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person at the wrong time? I had that happen to me. I received a response to one of my emails that was clearly intended for someone else to read. And shortly afterwards, a recall request was made. Too late.
Email can be a very dangerous tool.
I have written well-crafted emails and spent a good deal of time staring at the send button with some sense of trepidation.
There are some basics. Good grammar and spelling. Check for errors prior to sending. Make sure that the message is going to the right recipient. Phrase the email carefully to eliminate any possible misunderstandings. Content of email should be clear, unambiguous, while conveying the proper tone.
I try to be aware of my own negative emotions, such as anger or frustration, to avoid potentially disastrous outcomes. If I am peeved about a topic or frustrated with the recipient, I will sometimes write a draft and let it sit for a day before I even think about sending it on. If I am really angry, I might need to wait a week.
I try not to say anything in an email that I wouldn’t want the world to read. Email is mostly unsecured and can be forwarded anywhere.
I get enough practice on that last principle with my blog.
The funniest thing about the Exchange recall feature? It serves as a beacon for people – as they rush to open that recalled email before it can disappear.
In a corporate environment, the only thing that can secure an email is the new DRM feature in Exchange – which prevents printing, copying or forwarding. That being said – it cannot stop emotion – and the 24 hour park and ‘I dont send anything I would not want everyone to read’ is good advice.