Email is a beautiful thing. With just a click of a button, you can send an instant message to anyone in the world. Of course, that’s also what makes email so dangerous. Put the wrong person’s name in the “to:” field, and you might just tell send that angry screed about your boss not to your friend Ted, but to your boss, Tom. Or worse, you might hit “reply all” and say something embarrassing to a large group of people, or to the media, or all of the above. Luckily, Alex Honeysett can help. In a muse post titled “How to Recover From an Epic Email Fail,” the Channel One communications and promotions director shares four great tips for saying sorry and moving on.
1. Resolve to Fix It — Unless you have a time machine, there’s no way to un-send an email. Whatever you typed is out there, so the first step, Honeysett says, is to commit yourself to fixing the situation. Pretending that no one read it will get you nowhere.
2. Tell the Right People (Immediately) — Some snafus are worse than others. If you emailed confidential company info to the press, you need to tell the PR and legal departments about it pronto. “Don’t do anything on your own accord until you’ve told all the necessary parties,” Honeysett writes. “Start with your boss, and then let him or her lead the recovery and determine who else needs to be in the loop.”
3. Apologize Right Away — Even if you didn’t do anything major, like divulge insider information, you should act fast and apologize to the parties you’ve wronged. In the event you’ve thrown shade at one person, get in touch and try to explain yourself. Maybe you’re having a hard time at home; maybe the two of you are having issues that can be talked out. If it was a company-wide thing, get in touch with HR and see how they recommend you proceed.
4. Move On — As embarrassing as email fails are, they’re not that uncommon. Don’t dwell on your mistake; as soon as things are resolved, get back to work and devote all of your energy to moving forward. Your coworkers will respect you for it, even if you slighted them in your wrongly sent missive.