E-Mail And Return Buttons

“Even on the highest throne in the world, we are still sitting on our ass.”  Michel de Montaigne

I did it again. Copied a “sensitive” e-mail to the wrong person. It’s soooo embarrassing.

In what I thought was a confidential memo to my partners I characterized someone’s proposition as “insane.” I  neglected to check the “recipient” box before I sent it off – and as fate would have it, he got it.

There’s an old bit of business advice that goes something like: “Always speak about everyone as if he were in your presence.” I’ve never been much good at following this rule. I enjoy slander – but I have gradually come to realize
that it is not a good business practice.

An amazingly high percentage of the calumnies I utter find their way back to the victims. It’s never a pretty situation.

When you say nasty things in print, it’s worse, because it’s permanent (see Message #143). And with  e-mail, it’s worst of all, because it is so easy to broadcast the recrimination yourself . . . and it is permanent . . . and it happens so fast!.

I’m sure you are better mannered than I. Still, it won’t hurt to consider the following e-mail rules.

1. Never write anything about anyone in an e-mail message you would not want that person to hear about.

2. When you simply can’t resist a witty barb, don’t use any button that allows you to send the message automatically to a group of people unless it is absolutely necessary.

3. Double-check the recipient list every time you send out an e-mail. Check the last name, not the first. What you want Paul Smith to read might infuriate Paul Jones.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]