Four Common Email Shortcuts and Sidesteps That Could Cost You

When you have a crazy-busy schedule and not nearly enough hours in the day, it makes sense to look for ways to save time. As Email @ symbol and envelopeyou’re squeezing in everything you possibly can in the limited time you have, you might find yourself taking some shortcuts and sidesteps with mundane, everyday processes—like handling email.


While some of those shortcuts (such as setting up filters or a priority mailbox format) streamline and boost efficiency, others can potentially cause you to lose opportunities, put business relationships at risk, and…well…make you look like a fool.


Four Email Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Business

All of the below are oopses that I’ve made or that I’ve seen made first-hand. Are you guilty of any of them?


Never checking who has sent the emails that landed in your spam folder.

I’ve learned the hard way that emails from prospects and clients sometimes turn up in spam rather than my inbox. Don’t miss out on viable opportunities or important information by completely ignoring your spam folder or deleting emails in spam without checking who they’re from first.

Not double-checking (BEFORE you hit send) to make sure you’ve included only the intended recipients.

This can trip you up in many ways. You might send confidential information to someone you shouldn’t have disclosed it to. As a means of venting frustration, you might have written something not so favorable about someone and then inadvertently included that person in the distribution (This happened to one of my friends who is by all accounts an accomplished professional.)

Bcing (blind-copying) someone on an email.

This can set you up for another email faux pas. Under most circumstances, people Bc other people in emails when they secretly want to let those people know what they’ve sent to the “To” recipient(s). That’s fine and dandy until someone who has been Bced “replies all.” Yep. Awkward. It can destroy trust and create hard feelings. If you want to keep others in the loop, consider Ccing them so it’s all up-front or forward them the email you had sent to the recipient. The latter is more stealth than a Cc but less risky than rolling the dice with a Bc.

Thinking that you’ll remember to put a commitment on your calendar later.

Assume you won’t, and reserve the time as soon as you’ve responded to an email with agreement to a meeting, a task, or an event. If your brain is pulled in diverse directions at nearly all times, trust me on this—your memory isn’t as phenomenal as you think it is.


The Fix For These Email Faux Pas?

All it takes is a few extra seconds and some attention to make sure you don’t make any of the mistakes above. Your email communications have the potential to make or break your business relationships. Why risk missteps that could make you look unprofessional or alienate clients or project partners?


What other easily preventable email mistakes have you seen other professionals make? What’s the worst one you’ve ever made?

I Can’t Believe I Just Did That! 3 Careless Email Mistakes that Can Leave a Mark

“Oops! I can’t believe I just did that!” Who hasn’t said that to themselves at one time or another?Oops sign

In this break-neck, fast-paced business environment that we all live in, it’s easy to make silly mistakes when communicating with peers, prospects and clients. Generally, the errors of our rushed ways don’t cause permanent harm, but occasionally a mistake can leave a lasting mark that could tarnish your image of professionalism or cost you valuable business. So why take the chance?

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of extra time, you can greatly reduce your likelihood of making fatal foibles.

Here’s a short list of some “oops” moments that could happen to nearly anyone and a tip or two for making sure that they don’t happen to you…

Sending an email to the wrong contact

With the auto-fill features in email clients, it’s a wonder this doesn’t happen more often. Sending the wrong proposal or invoice to a client wouldn’t a great impression make. Though I’ve never erred to that degree, I admit that it has happened in a much more minor way. And so I’ve learned to be extra careful. Always, ALWAYS double-check the contacts you have in your To, CC, and BC fields.

Sending an email to ALL Contacts rather than a select group

True story: About 2 years or so ago, as volunteer editor for our church’s newsletter, I sent my normal monthly email reminder to our congregation to remind them that the deadline for submitting articles and info was on its way. When selecting the group for distribution, I immediately clicked “select all” based on the first email address that appeared in the lineup. Turns out, the first email address in my church distribution list was the first email address in my entire base of contacts. So rather than toggling to my church distribution and selecting “all” there, I had mistakenly selected ALL my contacts. Luckily, everyone was in good humor about it – and truthfully I think they had a lot of fun with it based on the (much-deserved) smarty-pants replies that I got in return. But had the subject matter and message been something altogether different, the end result could have been far more devastating than me becoming the target of some light-hearted ribbing.

Moral of the story: Check to make sure you’ve selected the appropriate group before sending a mass email. And if the group members don’t know each other or otherwise wouldn’t want to have their email addresses shared with others in the group, be sure to add the group in your BC field.

Accidentally adding an extra contact to an email

Occasionally, I catch myself almost doing this when sending an email to someone with whom I will be sharing the email address of someone else in my contacts. So that I can easily just copy and paste it into the body of the email, I’ll bring up the email address in the To field by just typing the name and letting the auto-fill feature do its thing. Works great…provided you remember to remove that email address from the To field before you send your message to its intended recipient.

Tip: Do a “cut and paste.” That way any remnants of the email won’t be formatted properly and won’t reach that unintended contact even if you goof up.

Again, mistakes happen. And they happen to all of us, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can to prevent them!

I’d love to hear your email or other communications “Oops!” stories – if you dare to share! What silly mistakes have you made – or has someone you know made – that either did or could have left a mark?

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