Google has announced a new feature for Gmail—the unsend button. How many times have you sent an email message to the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong format? Maybe you didn’t commit all those email sins at once, but you have probably done one or more of the above and some as yet unmentioned.
The new unsend button basically prevents g-mailers from sending mail prematurely—like the time my cat hit “send” when I was only halfway through my message. I was lucky because the email was being written to a personal friend and not a business client. Whew!
Let’s face it. Almost all of us have sent email before we remembered to use spell check, before we had finished the message, before we had completed the subject line and, worst of all, before we looked to see if we were sending it to the right person. Some of us who are brave enough to admit it have managed to send a blank email.
The unsend button is a help, but it does have its limitations. It only applies to those who use Gmail, and they have a mere 30-seconds max to recognize and correct their mistake.
If you don’t use g-mail (forgive me Google) or if 30 seconds is not enough time to realize your error, let me share my fool-proof solution for sending email before its time. Are you ready? It’s simple: complete the “To” line last. Do not put in an address until you have finalized your message and done all the appropriate checks.
Why not fill in the recipient’s address first? That would be your natural inclination. Here are a few good reasons to make that your final step:
Your email program does not care if you have not…
- Checked spelling and grammar
- Done a second proofing of your content
- Attached the document you promised
- Provided a subject line
- Included any content
- Written an appropriate greeting or closing
- Offered all necessary contact information in your signature line
The only thing your email program will hold you accountable for is having at least one name or distribution list in the To, Cc or Bcc line.
To borrow from the legendary tagline of the movie “Love Story”, waiting to complete the address line last means “never having to say you’re sorry.”
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