Common Communication Gaffes: Oops…and How to Avoid Doing It Again

We’ve all done it — accidentally sent an email that we immediately wanted to retrieve.  In the world of instant gratification that we now inhabit, where we’re expected to respond in the blink of an eye and be available 24/7, it’s bound to happen. Case in point: the publicist who recently replied all to an email calling a blogger a bitch, not realizing that said blogger was one of the recipients. Oops!

We also recently read a post on Mediabistro about a young job-seeker who emailed a cover letter (of sorts) to a PR firm from his/her iPhone that was filled with embarrassing mistakes.

We’re not perfect either. In our book, Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired and Rewarded at Work, Jessica talks about the time she called a (now former) editor at one of her company’s magazines a jerk and accidentally included him on the email (sometimes multitasking is not a good idea!). So what can you do in these kinds of circumstances?

1) Apologize for your actions (aka stupidity). Honesty truly is the best policy when you screw up. After Jessica did the slow-mo “Nooooo!” once that email had gone into cyberspace, she picked up the phone and called the guy she had badmouthed, fessed up and said she was sorry. (By the way, he hadn’t even seen the email yet!  Awkward!) They ended up having a heart-to-heart conversation about how her staff felt he was treating them and he had had no idea he was coming across like, well, a jerk. Luckily, the situation led to the smoothing over of a bumpy relationship. But it easily could have made it worse — and it was certainly not the way she would have done it if she had had her druthers.

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