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How to Delay Sending an Embarrassing Email

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Last updated on

Remember when attorney Gloria Allred sent out her entire press contact list? What about the partner at Quinn Emanuel who sexually harassed a secretary through email and sent it to the entire office? Talk about embarrassing.

Like most people, you're probably waiting for the day something similar happens to you. It doesn't have to. With a little practice and a few program settings, it's not that difficult to delay emails and ensure that you send them to the right place.

For starters, most email programs allow you to delay emails so they sit in your Outbox for a designated amount of time. Microsoft has posted instructions for its Outlook tool, and Gmail has an undo send function you can set for up to 30 seconds. If you run a Mac, it's little more complicated, but you're probably intelligent enough to figure it out.

If you're on an iPad, iPhone or other smartphone, poke around online communities for more hardware and program-specific instructions.

Once you've installed an email delay, you still have to tackle the issue of emailing the right person at the wrong address. This blogger herself has been the recipient of many of these emails, as she shares a first initial and last name with a well-known literary agent. She's received confidential legal documents, manuscripts, pitches and invitations to swanky D.C. events.

While the ethical dictates of holding a law license compel her to respond and delete before reading, you may not be so lucky. So it's best to put into practice a scheme that ensures you send important emails to the right place.

Consider calling the individual or his or her assistant before sending anything for the first time. Or you can just make it a practice to send a standard email telling the recipient that you are just ensuring you have the right address. When you know you're right, add it to your contact list and use auto-fill.

As for any embarrassing content in your emails, we can't help you there. Email delays will only take you so far.

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