Seven years ago I wrote about what to do when you hit “send” on an email while in an agitated or emotional state, and then immediately regret it: How to Dial Back the Hasty Email
Does this still happen? Unfortunately, yes. Does the advice hold up? Not quite, although I’d still handle the example situation in the same way. I just wouldn’t recommend that exact approach in every situation anymore.
My guidance assumed a couple of things — that people generally answer their phones when they ring (which they no longer do), and that this situation is most likely to happen with someone in the same building (growing less common).
Also, it’s a little aggressive for someone with a C or S DiSC style: someone who appreciates processing time.
Plus, technology and new best practices have made this problem less likely to occur, if you use them:
1) It’s become a best practice to NOT populate the “To:” field in an email until you’re 100% sure you’re ready to send. This slows you down a bit.
2) Most email clients have a feature that delays sending your emails by 30 seconds to 2 minutes – you can set this as a default. You can also schedule future delivery.
If you make it a habit to use those two practices, my situation from seven years ago won’t happen to you. The overall point of the guidance still holds: Avoid sending emails hastily, especially if they can be misinterpreted. Slow down and be careful, and try to talk first, face-to-face if possible.
Thanks for reading,