Cameron is a full-time Account Executive for a lanyard manufacturing plant and often sends emails to his prospects.
He is a hard worker and does a great job 99% of the time.
But he has a hefty sales quota that he needs to hit each month in order to take care of his fiance and pet snakes. On top of that, he recently moved to a new city and has a lot on his plate right now.
This makes it hard for him to dissect every email he sends to his clients and teammates. Because of this, he recently sent an email without attaching the sales collateral and forgot to cc the client’s business partner as well.
“Dagnabit!” He yells.
It’s not a big deal, but sometimes he loses out on sales because his clients want to work with professionals that are keen on the fine details and don’t like seeing incomplete work.
The good news for Cameron is there is a solution to this problem.
Why people send incomplete emails
99% of us open a new email and start from the top and work our way down before hitting send:
The problem with this approach is we typically focus on the ‘body’ section more than the other sections. Once we finish the body text of the email, we feel like the email is completed and ready to send.
Once the email is sent off, that sensor goes off in mind that makes us think “Did I do everything correctly?”.
This is when we realize we forgot to attach a file or that we didn’t add the correct recipients to the the message.
The solution to avoiding email mistakes
The best way to fix these email mistakes is to reverse the process entirely.
Instead of starting from the top and working your way down, start with the attachment first. Once the files are uploaded, write the body of the email and recap this message with a relevant subject. Lastly, you can add the recipients and fire off the email
Doing this in reverse order forces you to focus on the important steps that typically are an afterthought.
If you work on the attachment first, the likelihood of forgetting it is slim. In addition, there are times in the past where we move too quickly and accidentally hit the wrong buttons to fire off an email prematurely. If you add the recipients last, the email program you use won’t allow you to send a message without a recipient.
This is a great habit that could help you avoid time and stress in the future.
Bonus: Retracting Sent Emails
Both Gmail and Outlook have features to take back an email if you have already hit send.
This comes in handy for me as I typically have a few instances throughout the year where I need to change something in an email that was already fired off.
If you are using Gmail for work, start using the ‘Undo-Send’ feature. Not many people use this tool, but it is extremely powerful.
When you fire off an email, there is a little button that pops up and says “Undo Send”. If you hit this button, Gmail will retract the email as if it was never sent at all. You can even set the time limit to 30 seconds within the Gmail settings if you need the extra comfort!
Microsoft has it’s own version to retract emails, but it isn’t as fail-proof.
Under the ‘Sent Items’ tab, open the email you just sent. On the toolbar at the top, there is an option for ‘Actions’ and to ‘Recall This Message’. Microsoft will recall the message once this button is clicked, but it may not work if the recipient has already opened the email. If the email is opened, the message will stay in their inbox.
You can also watch this video that explains the process for retracting both Gmail emails and Outlook emails
We hope this helps you fine tune your emails moving forward and helps you avoid potential email mistakes at work. If you see value in these tips, please share with your friends. We are also open to new tips regarding this topic and would love to add your thoughts to this article too. Leave a comment below.
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