Sabotaging Yourself? Email Blunders And What To Do About It!

in front of computer

It is amazing to find that some people have no idea as to how important their email communications are and what can be assumed about a person based on what they divulge in an email.  I advise companies to adopt an email policy that will give them an ‘edge’ on their competitors and at the same time,protects them from awkward liability issues.  Listed are some email blunders that occur so often in business.

The Blunt Emailer:
“Need that print-out from you.  Urgent.  When you go out, can you get me a coffee, 1 sugar”

General comment:
This is way too blunt no matter how well you know the recipient.  Respect for others in the workplace is essential if you want to build rapport and keep work relationships healthy.  People give more when they feel respected.

What it says about the sender:
Lacks respect for the subordinate or workmate. Unprofessional, uncaring, rude. Sens mixed messages.

Why it is bad to have this e-ttitude:
Not only can it be intimidating for those who work in close proximity, it lowers the professionalism of the department &/or company. It can have an adverse affect on marol and output.  It can build bad feelings within a department.

How to improve next time:

Don’t make demands and ask for favours in the same breath.

The conversation could go like this:  “That printout is required urgently. How soon would you be able to give that to me?”


“Would you mind doing that print-out for me as soon as you can as it’s now urgent?”

A separate email request regarding the coffee could go  “Would you mind picking me up a coffee with one sugar if you are going that way?”  Be prepared to offer the same favour for your workmate at other times.

The Nuisance Emailer:

Helllllllllooooooooo!  Aren’t you going to say hi today?  Any, check out these pics from the party!  The one of so-and-so co-worker is sooooo funny!  Can’t stop laughing.  What’s new? xx”

General comment:
This is way to familiar an email for the workplace. Emails should be brief, to the point and should not be eliciting idle comment from a co-worker.

What is says about the sender:
Immature. Lacks respect for follow workers, especially around boundaries and their time.  Assumes familiarity with the recipient that may not be there.  Has little regard for priorities.

Why it is bad to have this e-ttitude:
This sort of e-ttitude will affect this person’s reputation across the board.  It will be difficult for anyone to take this person seriously, and one should be wary of trusting this person with one’s personal details.

How to improve next time:
Eliminate over-friendly banter in the workplace altogether.  Being friendly, polite and respectful will build trust with follow-workers and the boss.  If sharing photos of the work-party – keep the photos appropriate, and send them only if requested to do so. Otherwise notify by email that you have copies and if anyone is interested in receiving them, to indicate this to you.

Send them with short explanation in subject line e.g. Subject: Photos of Friday evening. And restrain yourself from comment on any of the photos. Do not ask for, or expect a response from those receiving the email.

The Needy Emailer:
“I get the feeling you aren’t talking to me. You haven’t said hi to me for the past two days, and I’m trying to figure out what I’ve done to annoy you.  Can we have a talk?”

General comment:
It is very inappropriate to express a personal concern by email.

What it says about the sender:
This person sounds and acts immature, hesitant and lacking in confidence. The whiney edge to this email is a credibility breaker.

Why is it bad to have this e-ttitude:
Trying to put a guilt trip on a co-worker shows poor jedgement, a lack of propriety and a neediness that can be very annoying and sometimes intimidating.  This will affect this person’s standing with co-workers and the boss if he/she hears about this.

How to improve next time:
If there is a concern that one may have over-stepped the mark or offended, don’t address this or any other concern in an email.  Address the issue personally and make a time (preferably out of work hours) to meet with the other person on neutral territory so that your conversation is out of earshot of co-workers and the issue can be discussed and sorted out amicably.  Always have a satisfying outcome in mind before the meeting so that when you DO meet, you already have a positive mindset. There is nothing more off-putting than a ‘cap-in-hand’ approach.

The Terrified Emailer:
“Hello, Mary.  I’m so sorry to bother you, I know you’re really busy and you don’t have time for annoying people like me!  However, I was just wondering if we might be able to go through my ideas this morning at some stage?  If not, don’t worry, I just thought I’d ask. Sorry to be annoying!”

General comment:
This is so apologetic and assumes the worst situation so much so that it actually creates the situation. There are people I’ve met like this and I want to slap them.

What it says about the sender:
Totally lacking in confidence.  Doesn’t trust people nor their own judgement. They put other people down in a covert way without realising it e.g. you are bothered by my interruption; you don’t have time for me; you think I’m annoying etc.

A covert controller perhaps?

Why it is bad to have this e-ttitude:
This type of behaviour will undermine this person’s professional standing and personal relationships. They come over as capital ‘L’ for looser and will be ignored &/or taken advantage of.

Stop the negative thinking. It’s not all about YOU!  Appreciate your strengths. List the areas that need attention and do something about it. Find a mentor.  Seek counselling. Do unexpected things for other people WITHOUT expecting a response, acknowledgement or thank you.  And get an updated image (hair, apparel, accessories). A serious change is needed here – and it’s the visual change that gets noticed first.

How to improve next time.
The Insecure Emailer:
“Do you think my latest report was terrible? Will I get fired? PLUS, I’ve been late for the last two days. Oh God. Have you heard anything?

General comment:
This is so inappropriate. Also when asking for a response with a negative outlook, you are sure to get negative feedback, if not directly in an email, but future responses from the recipient of your initial email.

Lacking self control, lacking in self confidence, erratic, drama-queen. Too self aware, overly self indulgent. “It’s all about me.”

Why it is bad to have this e-ttitude:

People will not take this person seriously. If they can’t control these sorts of outbursts, their career path will be stymied – no future. Submitting a report where one expects it to be viewed in a negative way is nothing short of incompetent.

What is says about the sender:
Get a grip, get serious about your position and the job at hand. Be prudent, think carefully before opening your mouth, and never send pathetic emails like this again.

How to improve next time:
Hey babe! Can I get that info from you this morn?  Don’t tell Boss I was late – hot date went a little too sell last night! xxxxxxxx

The Overly Familiar Emailer:
General comment:
Way too familiar with a co-worker. Sending bad signals from woe (literally) to go about personal life

What it says about the sender:
Poor judgement, lacking self control, no respect for co-workers, the company or the ‘date’, lier (work hours) cheater (the organisation), very gushy, pushy and annoying.

Why it is bad to have this e-ttitute:
No one could trust this person to do the decent thing. Unprofessional conduct in work hours and poor conduct outside of work hours reflects badly on the individual and those they associate with.

How to improve next time:
Keep your private life to yourself – never discuss at work under any circumstances. Never call a co-worker by any name other than their own. Babe is a major put-down. Asking someone to not tell the boss something assumes that they would have done so – thus putting them down at your level.  This is disrespectful to all concerned.  x-kisses should never be seen on any email sent to co-workers or to anyone’s business email address – EVER. For that matter, it’s a bit passe on any email. Family and close friends would be the exception.

Footnote:  Check your email etiquette and if any of the above examples relate to you – stop immediately. Your future is at stake!