I usually write emails carefully, and I try to avoid mistakes. It isn’t just a matter of personal pride. It’s also a way of showing your reader respect. Lessons are often learned the hard way, and I learned a hard lesson the other day.

I was writing an email in a hurry. It had a distribution list of about 40 people. The reason for my hurry was that I had to give a presentation. So I wasn’t just in a hurry, but I was also just a little distracted and stressed as people often are before presentations.

My email contained two ugly errors. The first was that I put in the wrong address for a web site. I realized that as soon as I had sent it and sent out a correction immediately.

The second was more embarrassing. I wanted to acknowledge the help of a group of people whom I work with. I wrote, “with their help, nothing gets accomplished.” I was too embarrassed to point out that I really meant “without their help.” Sometimes apologies and explanations make matters worse.

I did learn an important lesson though. By all means, write important emails when you’re in a hurry. Just don’t send them until you have the time and space to edit them carefully!

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