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  • Writer's pictureJayasree Menon

#mailfail 1: Comedy of Errors in our Inboxes

Accidentally sending a ‘reply-all’ to the entire workplace or getting an auto-correct error that made you doubt your sanity - most of us have had experiences in the vast realm of our digital communication. We celebrate the fact that we are sophisticated and how technology has developed but the comedy of errors found in our email inboxes will never cease to amuse us. Email is susceptible to errors despite being widely used and even with the aid of our smart AI (learning from our new intelligence).

This intriguing series will touch upon instances where our humble email unleashes both mayhem and laughter. With the help of examples, anecdotes, and a touch of humour, we'll analyze the reasons why emails fail and also discover the significant lessons that can be learned from these errors. This series will also highlight the hilarious aspects of technology and human slipups that are sometimes overlooked in the rat race of daily life.

Whom to blame: the Reader, Writer, or the Auto tools?

This new blog series of BCFAI is going to enlist certain instances of #mailfail.

Prepare to chuckle, wince, and nod knowingly as we delve into the fascinating world of email bloopers. This blog series is a peek into #mailfail from all walks of life and all parts of the world.

Stay tuned Every Tuesday for captivating tales of #mailfail. Please share your unique inbox experiences as a blog. Let us start this comedy of errors journey.

Thought Grains for all the Brains

As a conference academic coordinator, I have received a barrage of emails and these emails have reduced our troubles and tribulations of conducting and communicating the conference. Occasionally, our team used to reduce our stress of successfully conducting the conference by reading failed emails from different parts of the world.

Our conference was taking shape and we were about to confirm the delegates and presenters and alas we received an email. Please note we had to go the extra mile at the last moment to consider this case. And above all, our team leader was a thorough professional who believes in 100% email etiquette and format. Now you read and decide whether the call to action was accepted or not.

Read the email that follows to demonstrate the same. If communication is just to convey the message, our team understood the example email. Where does the fun lie then?

Communication Dilemma: email etiquette or 7 C’s or more???

“Dear conference coordinator Wholehearted Namaste to you and whole team. We've attended your conference several times and years and hence this email come to you. Yes, we are more than happy to inform you that we have had enriching, live and great learning experience by attending your earlier conferences. This year also we would like to exercise to add some Englishness and teaching learning experience into our professional up grade and enrichment attempt. Therefore, we would heartily request you to register us for this year’s ELT conference. Sir, being in an wavering state of mind, we failed to get ourselves registered for the conference. Therefore, may we request you to be considerate and generous enough to accommodate us as an out of turn gesture? Please also allow us to have spot registration facility. We're prepared to pay the needed charge for that. We fervently hope this email will come to your prompt attention with positive consideration. Thanking you and counting upon your cooperation truly of state of the (he)art nature. With respectful regards…” This was a typical example of an email from an over-enthusiastic participant. This is not to belittle the writer or to defame an email.

Email writing always requires review, revision and all the necessary C’s. We are sure all the participants who attend the conference are learned and can communicate. However, some tend to deviate from the basic etiquette of email writing. Emails convey the sender’s attitude, tone, and approach-the first door to communication. Change the sequence.

In this digital world, all of us are in haste to reply and this is the peril of hastiness. Did the writer forget to write a concise and formal email instead of an overpolite and patronizing tone? Could the email tame the tone? Do we need to flatter (over soft soap) to get an opportunity? Emotions can be controlled and remember a mail can make or break. The writer did not forget to mention our state-of-the-art structure too!

2) We have received one-liners:

The following is my abstract. Can I know about the selection of my abstract? Can i register the fee?”

Here comes a challenge for the team: To identify the person with the email id. To our dismay, the person forgot to mention his name too. Readers, time for you to identify the cause (A case of brevity and...)

3) Another reason our brains crack, is when we find an attachment with short forms. What do they even mean?

Plz find an attachment enclosed herewith which contains an abstract for the National conference organised by u in feb. I got d information late, so sending the abstract at the eleventh hour. Hope, you would accept it at the 11th hour.”.

Is it a text message or an email? (Above all, we have to find the enclosed attachment in an email!)

Email assistance is everywhere and still, emails fail! Thought grains for all the brains.

Communication effectiveness and credibility can affect if we let sloppy punctuation, sentence fragments, or too laid-back informal tone and approaches for email, the workhorse of our life. Do you believe email etiquette and rules are an old school of thought? Don’t you agree it is professional to review edit and use the tools with caution to send an email? Think before you craft the email and hit the send button!


Jayasree Menon is a Corporate trainer, with several years of teaching experience. Associated with the English Language Teaching Institute of Symbiosis (ELTIS) as an Academic Project Coordinator and Faculty. She has honed the communication skills of working professionals, and Engineering and Management students. In addition to this, an experience in content development for tailor-made modules is a matter of great interest.

She has presented papers and workshops and attended several CPDs to manage her learning growth. Please visit her LinkedIn profile here.

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pratima agnihotri
pratima agnihotri
Jun 12, 2023


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