The 10 Most Common Email Mistakes You Must Avoid

Spike Team
By Spike Team, Updated on June 10, 2024, 7 min read
correcting email mistakes

Ever heard of Perrussel’s Law? The rule that states that there’s no job too simple that it can’t be done wrong? Well, email is truly a case in point. It’s so simple…right? However, there’s plenty of us still apologizing for email mistakes that could have been avoided. So don’t worry, you’re not alone!


When it comes to email, the simplest of everyday tasks, it seems that we’re all a little guilty of switching off. We sometimes bash out words on a keyboard, hit send before we’ve proofread our message, or even attached our shopping list to an email instead of the latest sales figures. The list goes on.


The bad news is that the very worst email mistakes can have drastic consequences. You could offend a friend, colleague or client; you might accidentally send sensitive information to the wrong person; you could even lose your job.


The good news, however, is that Spike is here to help. Here we run down some of the most common email mistakes made by people everywhere and give you a few reliable ways to prevent or correct them before it’s too late. 



10 Common Email Mistakes


Mistake 1: Responding Too Quickly

If you respond too quickly without reading the email slowly, you might miss answering some of the questions. Take the time to read the email slowly and carefully craft your response. If the email you’re responding to is a tense one, it’s always better to wait a few hours at least to respond so you make sure you respond in a level-headed way.



Mistake 2: Being Too Formal

For initial communication with a customer or client, formality is expected. After that initial email, ditch the formality and leverage Spike’s conversational approach to email. Spike lets you chat just like you do in a messaging app. It clears the clutter. It’s easier to talk. Conversational Email puts real conversation at the heart of your communications. Both in the office and out of it.



Mistake 3: Emailing When You’re Angry

If you’re pretty fired up about something, it’s always a good idea to wait 24 hours before sending an email. Even if you want to go ahead and write the email, leave it in your drafts folder until you have a chance to cool off. No one ever regretted not sending an angry email.



Mistake 4: Giving Away Private Details in a Autoresponder

If you’re going to be out of the office and away from email, be careful with what details you give away. If your email provider allows you to only send auto-responses internally, it’s a good idea to enable that functionality. You don’t want to list information about where you’re traveling, etc. to be included in any email correspondence.


Mistake 5: Forgetting to Reply 

Good communication is a two-way street. So even when you receive the most rhetorical of emails, it’s good to reply. However, instantly replying to every message is a common email mistake that is not only time-consuming but can ruin your flow.


This leaves many of us making long mental lists of when we should reply, allowing plenty of opportunities for emails to go unanswered. There is another way – and one that doesn’t require a list (whether on paper or in your head).


Spike’s Snooze feature allows you to set a more appropriate time for you to deal with emails. Just click the three dots at the top-right of your window and schedule that email reminder to be sent “Later Today”, “Tomorrow”, “Next Week” or at another time of your choosing.


Once set, that email will appear at the top of your inbox when you’re good and ready to respond. You’ll never forget to reply to another email ever again!



Mistake 6: Not Proofreading the Email

We can’t recommend this enough. Proofread your messages before you hit send! Including incorrect information full of typos is among the most common mistakes in emails, and the sad fact is, they’re almost always avoidable.


But don’t waste time beating yourself up over it, to err is human, and even the best proofreaders sometimes let the odd mistake through. So whether you’re the type who takes a scattergun approach to email composition or a detail-oriented stickler, there’s always the chance that your emails may contain incorrect information.


Not to worry, Spike has your back. Spike’s Undo Send allows you to take back your mistake within 10 seconds – before it reaches the recipient’s inbox. Just click the three dots and select Unsend Message. It’s that simple.


Discover More:

Learn how to unsend emails with Gmail, Outlook & Yahoo


Mistake 7: Sending the Wrong Attachments 

Sending the wrong documents in an email can be as simple as selecting an old version of many working files, or as drastic as attaching a personal photo from your latest night out instead of your latest professional portrait. We juggle so many different documents these days that it’s no surprise if the odd attachment is incorrect. Thankfully, you can save yourself a load of hassle (and possibly embarrassment) with File Manager.


Spike’s File Manager lets you preview the files you attach to your emails with visible thumbnails within the message. This means you can check over each of the attachments you want to send instantly, ensuring you’ve got the right version of the document so you can correct this email mistake before it ever happens.



Mistake 8: Emailing the Wrong Contact

In most cases, sending emails to the wrong contact is just awkward, however, it can also be quite destructive. When it comes to brand secrets, financial details, sensitive documents, or any other type of information that is strictly confidential, getting contacts mixed up can be really damaging to both you and your company.


While most people will be happy to trash your email straight away, others may not be so forgiving—and there’s plenty of unscrupulous people out there who would just love the odd trade secret to land in their laps.


To help you prevent this kind of common email error, Spike makes sure your contacts are clearly recognizable with a large photo of the recipient (or any photo/image/logo you choose), plus links to relevant social accounts to help you more easily identify who you are emailing.


Additionally, when you click on your contact’s info, you’ll see a history of your previous messages and list of attachments that you have shared.




Mistake 9: Sending Emails at Unsociable Hours 

Some people just want to burn the midnight oil and push on despite the fact that everyone else is in bed. However, not everyone shares those sentiments, and for many, a real work/life balance is just as important as their career goals. Sending emails late at night, early in the morning, or at inconvenient times when crossing time zones is usually seen as rude or overbearing, but it’s still considered one of the most common mistakes in email writing.


However, for Spike users we’ve got the perfect fix. Our Send Later feature lets you set a time and date to send your email. Shortcuts include “Later Today”, “Tomorrow”, and “Next Week” or you can choose a specific time and date. This means you can get all of your genius late-night ideas down as they come to you and practice good email etiquette at the same time.



Mistake 10. Expecting an Immediate Response 

With the rise and rise of instant messengers, it seems that everyone wants instant replies–even when using email. Unfortunately, this can foster an “always-on” mentality that may create highly pressurized work environments and even lead to professional burnout.


Expecting the same kind of responsiveness as instant messengers is definitely an email mistake to avoid, and one that Spike can help both you and your colleagues with to build a healthier, stress-free work environment.


Spike prides itself on being an asynchronous communications tool – a method of communication that doesn’t require both parties to be online at the same time. You send your email, it gets delivered, and then it waits patiently for the recipient to schedule a response. Unlike instant messaging, the pressure to reply instantly is gone, and it’s conveniently built directly into the entire Spike ethos!




Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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