It is a panic-inducing moment when you realise that you sent your e-mail to the wrong person. Accidents happen, especially when you work over e-mail, where there is the potential to get sloppy or mix up e-mail addresses. What's worse is that there is no way to take back the email once it is sent out into the digital universe. What you can do, however, is apologise to the person who received your e-mail promptly after realising your blunder.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Visit the person who received your e-mail in error in person. Apologies are always most effective when done in person. If the email recipient is remote, then call him on the phone. If you do not have his phone number, then resort to an e-mail apology note.
Offer a sincere apology. Explain that you sent off the email in a hurry, and that it is your fault for having been a little reckless.
Ask the recipient to kindly disregard the contents of the email. It could be that you accidentally sent sensitive or confidential information in the email. In this case, request that the recipient delete the message from his e-mail box as soon as possible.
Avoid making excuses for your error. The person that you are apologising to does not care that you had a long day, a late night or skipped your morning cup of coffee. Just stick with the plain and simple apology approach, which is all the person really needs.
Don't blame the technology. Even if your e-mail system automatically inserted the email address into the "To" field, it is still your fault for not having paid attention before pressing the "Send" button.
Promise that this sort of thing will not happen again. Explain that going forward you will use more caution when sending e-mails.
Tips and warnings
- To prevent sending e-mails to incorrect addressees, complete your "To" field of the email last--after the message of the email is composed. Also, do not hit the "Reply to All" button, as this can get you into trouble.
- Avoid filling your e-mails with gossip or unprofessional information, just in case you mean to send the email to your friend Anne, but the email winds up in your boss Anna's e-mail box.
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