Word to the e-Wise

I came across two true stories about miscommunication over email that ended up leaving the writers with egg on their faces.  Be careful not to inadvertently (or on purpose) send a private email to a list. According to snopes.com, in June of 2003, an intern at a prestigious law firm inadvertently sent a fairly unprofessional email intended for one party to about 40 employees including 20 partners.  The email in question used foul language and seemed to indicate that the intern was intentionally goofing off at work.  His mistake was immediately noticed which necessitated a formal apology.  He apparently was eloquent enough in his apology to remain gainfully employed at the firm. Snopes.com confirms another email mishap which occurred in June of 2005.  It seems a secretary in a law firm in England somehow got ketchup on her boss's pants.  The day she returned to work after her mother's funeral she found an email from her boss asking for four pounds in cash, the cost of his dry cleaning.  As her salary was about a fourth of his lawyer's salary, she sent a sarcastic reply suggesting that the office take up a collection for him.  Apparently she copied several people in the office in on the correspondence when someone leaked it to the newspapers who demonized the lawyer and made the two of them a household name.  The attorney had planned to leave the firm just prior to the publicity and the secretary was said to be thinking over her employment after feeling isolated her former boss's supporters who felt he was unfairly victimized. These two incidents give us a glimpse into how important it is to be careful about even our informal communication.  Take care to choose your words wisely, respectfully and carefully.  You  never know who might be reading. A word of communication caution from your friends at Art of Eloquence.com!


  • jojosblog

    I know. I wish there was an editor for comments too. I sometimes type so fast, I miss a letter.

    Thanks ladies. The temptation is to think of email as insignificant so many don’t take the time to communicate effectively. Unfortunately, more times than we care to admit, miscommunication meets misunderstanding—especially over email where it is devoid of facial expressions, tone of voice and the like.

  • Cindy Holman

    So true! Thanks for the reminder JoJo! Let’s keep our words sweet ?

  • Bobbi

    Good reminder and funny!

    BeckyJoie – I didn’t notice the mistake until I read your second comment and reread the post twice! lol

  • BeckyJoie

    I really need a comment editor. LOL. It should have read watch “out” not “our”.

  • BeckyJoie

    Good reminders. Yes, another thing to watch our for is the “reply to sender” and “reply all” options. If you don’t watch what you say, it could end up accidentally in the wrong hands just because you click the wrong button.

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