Calexis

It is no surprise that people are lazy.  That is one reason why many of the emails we get these days are simply forwarded or replies from originating emails.  But there is great danger in this laziness.

Everyone has heard of the great “Reply All” error when you send a caustic remark back about one of the people in the original email.  That’s clearly a Woops!  And who hasn’t done it?

But there is a more insidious danger:

Watch out for the incriminating tail!

Email tails are not like lizards that detach their tails to escape unscathed.  They are attached unless you consciously delete them.  They are sitting there for anyone who wants to scroll down and they will reveal a back story, sometimes best left unshared.

Most people do not scroll down below their original screen presentation of their email, so more often than not no one notices what is below.  Then they forward or reply, sometimes adding respondents and making comments on what is below.  More often than not forgetting completely about the original message and the email tail.  A couple of pass-ons later the original message is still there in all its incriminating glory.

We recently saw an email where there was an internal back and forth about hiring a replacement supplier for a particular service.  There were questions and others within the  company entered the conversation as there were questions relating to continuity of the service and severance.  Then someone, way along the link, had the great idea of asking their soon to be former supplier some questions that had been raised.

Woops!  They forgot the dialogue attached down the tail of the email.  Embarrassing??!!  Worse than any Reply All gaffe.  It probably cost the company by revealing their motive and it seriously damaged the relationship that might have continued.

Our advice: either start a new email message or delete the tail unless it is relevant to your message.  In any case, take a moment to see what is there before sending an existing email along to a new recipient.

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