Emails can get you into trouble

by madwife2002 7,181 Views | 25 Comments Senior Moderator

This article is concerned with emailing within the working environment. It touches on some of the problems that can be caused by emailing. How we don't give emailing the respect as an official document it deserves. Email can be used in a court of law to back up or deny certain information. It also gives a few do's and don'ts of email in an effort to help others avoid pitfalls which can occur.

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    Emails can get you into trouble

    Did you know that there is such a thing as email etiquette - for Work?

    I don't know about you, but I have tripped into many pitfalls with my emails! Emails can have a tone, attitude, rudeness, and they can be offensive!

    Many of us use email as a quick way of communicating something simple to another person without considering that written word often has more of an impact than anything else in society!

    How many times have you read an email, which annoyed you initially, making you wanted to respond immediately yet once you re read it, you realized that maybe you had not really read it properly?

    When we used to write letters to people years ago, you know the kind we used to pop in the mail with a stamp.

    There was a formal way we were taught in school how to write letters.

    How to format a letter, it was a skill! It was a part of an English lesson and we were tested on it, in my school

    How many of us have had formal education on how to write emails? I havenít

    I almost consider emails as a quick note, not paying it much attention, not really giving it much thought!

    STOP emails are a written documentation and will follow you where ever you go!

    They can be used against you as well as for you!

    Be careful of what you write! It could come back and bite you on the left cheek! I am only discussing work emails here but the rules can apply to all emailing, the ones we write in the heat of the day.

    I have complied a few simple rules of email which may help you in the future, and yes I am only touching on the topic but I have witnessed careers falling apart because Email has been used incorrectly.

    1/ Do not send your emails as soon as you write them wait a few minutes return and look at it. Imagine you were receiving the email and consider if you would appreciate the tone and the content!
    (It never fails to amaze how many ambiguities you manage to work into short and simple emails)

    2/ If in doubt ask somebody you can trust to review before sending

    3/ Do not email anything which could have serious future consequences for you. Emails can be used as evidence in a court of law

    4/ Do not press reply all as a default, it may not be suitable! Review who the reply all will go to!

    5/ Try to keep it short and sweet

    6/ Clean up forwarding emails, you know the emails which contain great advice you want to share.

    If you are at the end of such a sharing chain, you'll quickly see why cleaning up emails before forwarding them is essential: messages that have been forwarded multiple times often contain '>' and other quotation characters in all the wrong places, lines are broken in even worse places, and email addresses of people you don't want to know are everywhere.

    7/ It is polite to let somebody know that you received their email and that it didnít get lost in cyber space or the spam bin

    8/ Try to talk about one subject per email to avoid confusion

    9/ Be careful using irony in emails especially if you donít know the person, it can cause multiple problems

    10/ REMEMBER TO WRITE IN CAPITALS MEANS YOU ARE SHOUTING AT THE PERSON!

    'My mother used to tell me don't write anything down which you really do not want to come back and haunt you'
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 14, '12
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  3. About madwife2002

    madwife2002 joined Jan '05 - from 'Ohio'. madwife2002 has '24' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'RN, RM, BSN'. Posts: 9,466 Likes: 5,196; Learn more about madwife2002 by visiting their allnursesPage

    25 Comments so far...

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    I completely agree that emails need to be composed in a careful way knowing that the intention of the writer may not be received correctly by the reader.

    But, to me proper use of English grammar and spelling are more important and give whatever you are writing a more professional feel. I can't take anything seriously that is riddled with grammar misuses and spelling mistakes. Drives me bananas ;-)

    Common spelling issues that I can't understand how anyone who has attended college can produce:

    Beleive
    Appropiate
    There/their misuse
    It's/its misuse
    Lose/loose misuse

    And so many more I could write an article on it. When I get an email from someone in management with spelling and grammatical mistakes, I cringe.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
    BuckyBadgerRN, Camperhead, subee, and 8 others like this.
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    If you don't want the world to know then don't write or say it in an email, text, voice message, social media, ect... Anything we say or write on computers, cells, tablets, etc... is stored for a very, very long time (even if you think you've deleted it, it's still there). Grammar and spelling is a must though there is the edit button on everything, there shouldn't be any errors. If I have a long email and I'm worried about the tone I use emoticons to get my point across. If you're worried about grammar, usually saying it out loud will catch mistakes.

    a/an...my pet peeve in writing.

    This also includes photos...remember Wiener?
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    Thank you for the advise. I wish you could have given some examples of how someone lost their job due to sending an unappropriate email. Just curious.
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    Great article.

    One thing to add: just because a message is deleted doesn't mean that it's gone from your facility forever. A copy of that deleted message is often maintained in the company's servers...and it can come back to haunt you.
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    I think a formal protocol and ettiquite for composing emails should start being taught as early as grade school. It's an undeniable part of culture now.
    amoLucia, gonzo1, Wild Irish LPN, and 2 others like this.
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    Totally agree Brandon!
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    Aren't we supposed to be writing e-mails the way we write letters? Call me old fashion and corny, but I'm thinking the basic etiquette should remain in an e-mail. Apparently the younger generation doesn't think this :0


    Try to talk about one subject per email to avoid confusion
    I really wish this weren't the case, but it really is true. I can't tell you how many e-mails I have written to colleagues (educated colleagues, at that), who only answer the first part of the e-mail. I try to include more than one subject in the e-mail (ei., "exam 2 and clinical make-ups), but still, only the first part is worthy of a reply. It's like people today don't have the attention span to read an entire e-mail.
    anotherone likes this.
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    Advice/advise (Advice is a noun, advise is a verb)
    Singular/plural mismatch; "they" as a singular ("You can tell your patient has heart failure if they are ..." FAIL)
    Inappropriate Capitals for Everything ("I saw the Physical Therapist at my Dentist's office." FAIL)
    Inappropriate possessives for plurals ("I bought four apple's." FAIL)
    They're/there/their
    Inappropriate use of quotation marks ("Do you know how I should contact the "board" to ask about my license?" FAIL)
    Bizarre punctuation...or none at all, in long run-on sentences that never come to the point. "My sister says that she likes mashed potatoes we have creamed spinach for Thanksgiving they're my favorite." Huh?
    "U" for "you"
    Oh, you shouldn't have gotten me started on that.... Yes, written communication is important no matter what its medium. (Oh, and that's the singular of media. A newspaper is not media, a film is not media, television is not media. Each is a medium.)
    jena5111, amoLucia, Camperhead, and 1 other like this.
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    Lets add that once an email is sent, you lose control over it. It can be forwarded on and on and on. Who knows where it ends up?
    Wild Irish LPN likes this.


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