Reply All...And Other Ways to Tank Your Career

Email has completely changed the way we communicate. It also created a ton of room for faux pas. Modern Manners Guy's new bookReply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career is inspired by the worst email snafu of all. Click to learn how to avoid a reply all fiasco and other bad email manners.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #265

Reply All: And Other Ways to Tank Your Career

It goes without saying that my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career was inspired by email faux pas. But hitting “Reply All” is just one example of bad email etiquette.

Since the dawn of the internet, email has completely changed the way we communicate with one another. It’s fast, convenient, and allows us to share news and images without having to use a stamp or wait for days to get information. And this casualness is the root of the problem.

See also: 10 Ways to Annoy Your Colleagues with Email


Improper email etiquette comes in many forms; the fast typer, the ranter, the over-sharer and, my personal favorite, the reply all fiasco. But regardless of which email faux pas you have committed in the past, it’s time we refocus and review how to conduct ourselves on email before we say – or type – something that could have terrible ramifications.

So check out my top 3 quick and dirty tips for email etiquette:

Tip #1: The Super Quick Email

FACT #1: Email is a very fast way to communicate.

FACT #2: Fact #1 can really get you in trouble.

I openly admit it: I’m guilty of sending emails with mistakes. Maybe I inadvertently included a spelling error (thanks Auto Correct). Maybe I signed off without properly ending the conversation. Or maybe - and nod with me, everyone – I sent the message to the wrong “Bill” in my email contacts. Guilty. No matter which of these has happened to you, I would bet that the reason for almost every email faux pas is that you’re rushing while typing. Be it from stress or frustration, if you rush through an email you’ll probably end up screwing up somewhere along the way. When you feel rushed and tempted to jot a quick email, think of the popular British saying, “Keep calm and carry on.” However, for email it’s more like keep calm and don’t look foolish.

I know what you're saying, “My days are busy and hectic and I'm always rushing. Such is life.” I’m with you. My life is pretty chaotic too, with family, work, and just trying get through a day without spilling coffee on myself. So I often can't control the speed of every email. However, one way to avoid most email errors is to take a breather and re-read whatever you've written before clicking Send. 

Re-reading is a lost art these days. We assume the “Gods of Email” will not only spell check for us, but also make sure that we said what we wanted to say, to whoever we wanted to say it. But when we rely on technology, we tend to forget the possibility of human error.

See also: How to Handle Texting Snafus