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Why You Don’t Add the Email Address Until You’re Ready to “Send”

The London School of Economics.

World-renowned. Prestigious. Giant embarrassment.

In late August, the university accidentally sent an email to 200 students with a bizarre error:


Did you catch the name of the email recipient?

Aa-Kung Fu, Panda Tiger Test Test

Classify this one under “Mass Email Blunders.” University officials not only had to apologize for the mistake but also its racial undertones. The London Evening Standard reports LSE’s population is 30 percent Asian, and some students were offended by the “Kung Fu, Panda” part.

An LSE spokesperson claims the person who sent the test email is merely a fan of the film.

OK, whatever. The entire situation is a mess, and it comes down to the “To:” section.

Why you should enter the recipient’s email last

How did “Aa-Kung Fu, Panda Tiger Test Test” happen? School officials claim it was a “coding” error. In any event, the snafu is a reminder to enter the email address(es) and other recipient information when the message is 100% ready. Otherwise, it’s too risky.

What if you click “Send” too soon and you’re mid-sentence? Then you need to write back awkwardly and say “Sorry, didn’t mean to hit send yet!”

See: The Definitive Guide to Exclamation Marks in Work Emails 

Even worse, you could write an angry email to let off steam but never intend to go through with it. But if the email address is already in there and you mistakenly press “Send”…oops. On Gmail, you have a few seconds to “Undo” a message and bring it back to “Draft” status, but that’s a dangerous game where time is of the essence.

The order is:

1. Subject line

2. Email body

3. Attachments

4. Recipient’s email address

Once you add the email address, it’s the signal to your brain that says “This message is ready to go.” You are comfortable with the content and how the other person will perceive it. Like the final walk-through before a NASA launch.

Otherwise, an email riddled with errors or one that’s inappropriate could land in someone’s inbox and make your life miserable.

Aa-Kung Fu, Panda Tiger Test Test

Don’t let it happen to you.


How do you prevent embarrassing emails?

Share below!


Featured photo: Bhupinder Nayyar (Flickr)


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