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How to recall an email

If you’ve ever hit send on an email and then instantly regretted it, we show you how to recall an email and avoid embarrassment in the future.

How to recall an email

Have you ever sent an email you regret and tried send a follow-up email asking the addressee not to read it – when you know deep down that’s just going to make the addressee want to read it even more! But you felt like you needed to do something, but as you might expect, the main email services now provide a way out of embarrassment which we’ll look at later on.

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Most common reasons to be embarrassed by an email

  • Getting the name of the person you’re emailing wrong
  • Making typos
  • Forgetting to add an attachment
  • Using intemperate/emotional language in anger
  • Sending a personal message to the wrong person

Like it or not, emails are forever, and an angry or rude email sent years ago can come back to haunt and embarrass you when you’re in a higher position or applying for a new job. Increasingly, employment codes increasingly govern behaviour online and your email may even cross the line, either at the time of writing or as lines continually get redrawn with changing attitudes.

Avoid the need to recall an email

Prevention is better than cure. Before you find yourself desperately googling how to recall a hasty email, these are our tips to avoid being put in that position:

  1. Proof-read. Read through your email before hitting “send”. Is it really what you intend to say? Are there any gross spelling or grammar errors? Syntax errors are especially awkward if you work in an educational or literary field or if you’re applying for a job or reporting to your boss.
  2. Count to 10. How often do we see an email we disagree with or one that makes you fume, so you hit return with an immediate response? Sit on your email and calm down before taking another look. A re-reading of the original might reveal that your initial impression was harsh or incorrect and the writer didn’t mean to annoy or offend; perhaps they are making a reasonable point which deserves a measured response. Even if you have received a rude or incorrect email from a colleague, it’s great to take the moral high ground with a calm and polite response!
  3. Check the distribution list. Just in case you’ve selected “reply all” which, at best, means everyone in your organization learns your Christmas lunch choice or your personal reasons why you can’t make a meeting or, at worst, broadcasts your private opinion of the boss!
  4. Beware of the email chain. Email chains can be dangerous things. You might forward an email on, only to find an unflattering or confidential email in the chain goes to the wrong person. Beware that a business-sensitive email isn’t about to find its way outside your organization. Be disciplined and responsible, starting new chains when you need to.
  5. Check you’ve attached that document. Need we say more on this?

So, the worst has happened. How can you recall that email?

If the worst happens, don’t worry. There may be a way to save your blushes. As for everything, you can find a “How-to” set of steps on the internet, either directly on Google or, if you’re a visual person, on Youtube.

To help save you valuable seconds searching for instructions, we’ve collected some useful links below:

  • MS Outlook
  • Gmail. You can also go into Settings and set your own period for recalling emails.
  • Yahoo! Does not allow you to recall emails so you may need to consider another provider if this is important to you.

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If you want to know more about how you can make the most of your IT systems and software, then contact our team at Syn-Star for an initial, no-strings consultation.

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