Skip to main content

Delete! The Eight Emails You Should Never Send

By July 12, 2023July 26th, 2023Articles, Leadership

I thought we could have some fun on this Wednesday morning! Maybe a chuckle or two as weel.

In a professional context, there are eight emails I believe you should never send. Ever. Not even if you’ve been biting your tongue in the boardroom or crying in the bathroom! Here’s what to never hit send on:

One: The You Are Sacked email

I really can’t believe this still happens, but it does.Telling someone they’re sacked is news you do not deliver on email. It has to be a conversation. Even if there are on leave, sick or uncontactable in Antarctica. I would even hesitate to send an email saying, ‘I want to talk about your position’ because of course people are going to freak out. You’re probably delivering bad, potentially-career changing news so have the courtesy and sensitivity to give the heads up and the big news as a human, face to face.

Two: The I Am Furious email

This is the email you tap out when you see the red mist and want to lash out. It’s the angry email where you vent on whatever is on your goat. Never send it. When there is smoke coming off the keyboard, it always comes out very badly, much more aggressively than you may have intended, and can cause lasting, irreversible offence. It can also potentially be seen as harassment or bullying. A lot of people recommend saving it to draft until you cool down. I’m not a saving it to draft kind of girl. It’s too easy to hit send instead of save. If you must save it to stew over, don’t put the person’s email address in – like I did once! It’s really not a great situation to deal with.

Three: The Berating email

Yes, the email where you decide it’s a good idea to take a swing at the boss or your colleague or any stakeholder. Often with context that will only make sense to you. Big life rule: don’t send emails berating anyone. How do you get the point across then? You don’t. Press delete. If you’re determined to bash someone because they have cut you off in a meeting, stolen your idea, do it in a conversation. Because if you don’t have the courage to say something face to face it’s a big red flashing sign you shouldn’t say it at all and will regret it if you do. Don’t foregt with email, your intent can be misread as something completely differently.

Four: The Creepy email

Some days you might be tempted to be sycophantic or gushing—“I’ve never worked with anyone as incredible as you” or “I loved your shoes at the meeting”—but this is a recipe for disaster. If you want to send those full-on gee whiz admiring emails they need to be strictly limited to performance. Do not ever get personal. Email is not a great platform for emotions, unless you’re really happy for someone about a life event or promotion that can be universally celebrated. You need it to be unable to be interpreted as something else. Think: is there a chance this email could creep someone out? Delete!

Five: The Kiss Kiss Signoff email

This is very dependent on your relationship and you’re a better judge than I … but I would never, ever, ever send kisses at the end of an email to colleagues in a corporate environment. Or my boss. It’s a really easy habit to get into. Keep comms crisp and professional.

Six: The Weekend Rundown email

This is the too much information email where you think that just because you had a great time getting on it on the weekend that everyone else will find it as cool. If you went out and got smashed and had an incredible sexual escapade, go you—now keep it to yourself and your inner circle. Not your team mate. This doesn’t mean you can’t build a personal relationship via email, it just means you keep shared details G rated.

Seven: The Urgent email

I find these really annoying. Urgent, is it? Define urgent to me, because your urgent may not be my urgent. And why is it urgent? Have you not been organised and now I have to fit into your timeline? Don’t be thoughtless or intrusive on other people’s time by using the title urgent. It’s very dramatic. It’s often just a ploy to get what you want, when you want it and throw other, more organised people’s day into chaos. Prioritise better.

Eight: The Did You Get My Email email

We’ve all done this because we think we need to, and we’ve all rolled our eyes when we’ve received them. It reeks of desperation. Let’s be pretty confident in our technology in 2023. You can be 99.94 per cent sure the server didn’t go down and it is in their inbox and they will get to it when they’re ready. Or, it could be sent to spam and you might need to change the reason why it ended up there. Back off. Or, use other terminology or a phone call might make better use of your time. Often I don’t answer the uneducated email telling me that I need to be looking at changing my office space now and would I like to chat….I don’t have one. I don’t answer!

Trust me with these. Email regret is something that’s hard to come back from!