5 ways to prevent users’ e-mail blunders

E-mail mistakes can lead to sensitive information being shared with the wrong people. Or, they could just cause confusion and breakdowns in communication.

Either way, here are five steps to take to avoid e-mail mistakes, according to TechRepublic:

  1. Turn off auto-fill — Outlook and many other e-mail clients help users save time by automatically completing an e-mail address once the first few letters are typed. It may save a few seconds, but it also makes it easier to pick the wrong recipient when two or more have similar names.
  2. Use BCC — Sharing someone’s e-mail address with folks who don’t need to know it is not only rude, but also a bad idea from a security perspective.
  3. Protect where e-mails are stored — Many organizations put a great deal of effort into using encryption and other methods to make sure e-mails are transmitted security, but don’t have the same focus on securing the machines where the messages are stored.
  4. Keep different addresses — Services like Guerilla Mail can provide temporary e-mail addresses for situations where you or users aren’t comfortable sharing a personal or work address.
  5. Double-check the recipient — It’s common sense, but many users could use a reminder to always make sure the message is addressed to its intended recipient.
  • sophie

    Here’s two more ideas I use: 1. when writing an email, I don’t put the recipient’s name into the TO box until it is completely finished, so I don’t accidentally send it before it is completed. 2. I took the “Reply All” option off my tool bar. I now have to consciously choose it from the Actions pull-down menu when I really need it, instead of using it when it is not appropriate or necessary.

  • Brad L

    I would add: Do not use REPLY ALL unless you really want everyone to get your response. Use REPLY as a rule.

  • DC

    I agree w/sophie & Brad.

    I really appreciate what you address in your step #2. People don’t realize how rude it is to forward email with everyone’s email addresses – often with personal labels from their mailbox so that everyone knows the full name and likely the year of birth of “abc1970@”. If something I receive is worth forwarding, I clear out any old email addresses, send it to myself and bcc those I am sending to. I only hope they are doing the same – as many have been asked to do.

  • 1. Auto-fill – i’ve been getting emails a lot lately from a co-worker who means to send it to someone else with the same first 2-3 letters in their email, they need to check this!

    2. BCC – I forget to use BCC a lot, I can always use another reminder, thx!

    Regarding Reply All:
    I’ve actually been scolded on several occasions for NOT using Reply All when someone wants everyone kept in the loop, so now I have to weigh that decision every time!