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Recalling an email message sent in haste

You know you all have done it. You have gotten a bit ticked and fired off a cutting email to either a friend, co-worker, or a family member, without thinking about what the consequences might be. It is so easy to write a scathing email and hit the send button. However, the long lasting effects and hurt feelings may seriously damage a good relationship. Believe me, I have been there and have made the mistake of hurting someone close to me. It is not something you can mend easily, if ever. I frequently get questions from clients, colleagues and friends on how to recall those messages. If you are in a corporate environment, you will have the option of recalling a sent message, if your company uses Microsoft Exchange. However, the caveat here is that your recipient must also be using Microsoft Exchange. Exchange is a corporate email software package. Assuming you both operate email in an Exchange environment, you can only recall messages that have not been read. Under certain conditions, when you recall an email, the recipient is notified that something has been deleted from their inbox. Additionally, even if you did send a recall, if the recipient clicks on the original message first, the recall will not take place. Way too many variables exist that can stop your recall request dead in it’s tracks. It is best to curb your emotions first and thoroughly think about the message prior to hitting the Send button. For those of you not operating in an Exchange environment, and that would be the majority of my readers, there is no way for you to recall a sent email message. I was in a situation last night where I had to write a very difficult message to someone, and I had to walk a very fine line between diplomacy and being firm and getting my message across to the recipient. I could have easily gone a bit overboard, as I was a bit emotional about the situation. Instead, I composed the email with the message I wanted to get across, and then went back and toned it all down a few notches. I suggest if you are in this situation, you make sure you take plenty of time to think your message through before you send it. Even if you think you are being diplomatic, someone else may think otherwise. If you can, have someone else read the message for you prior to sending it. Unfortunately, this is one of those areas that technology does not have easy solutions for. I wish I could wave a magic wand and give you all the capability to take back the things you send in an email, but I can’t. . . . . .so be careful out there.

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