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E-mail - For Better or Worse

For most of us, it looks like email has become a permanent partner. And like any relationship - what we really want to know is how to make it better, not worse.

E-mail can enhance our lives. It allows us to keep in touch with family and friends. It is a great way to increase our business. We can send pictures, documents, and memos quicker and easier than ever before. We send inter-office emails. We can email our opinion to the White House or ask a question of a large [or small] company. We can send important information and inspirational messages or send tasteless jokes and get ourselves into deep trouble. Yes, email has changed our lives. For all its advantages, email also has flaws.

To improve your email communication, consider the following:

  • Donít assume someone has received your email. There is always a chance that your email was not received. Send a second email if you donít get a reply in a day or two. Use the return receipt option on an important email [if available].
  • Some people open their email only once or twice a week. If it is important information and you donít know if they check their email daily, call and alert them to watch for an incoming email from you.
  • Put a subject in the subject line of the email you are sending. Emails without a subject listed may not be opened, especially if the recipient doesnít recognize you or your email address.
  • Donít forward emails. People do not want their email address included in emails going to people they donít know. Use the ďcut and pasteĒ method to send information.
  • Donít send attachments unless it cannot be prevented. Many people refuse to open attachments since this increases their chances to pick up a computer virus. Again, use ďcut and pasteĒ to send information.
  • Unless someone really enjoys receiving numerous emails, don't overload their system. They may be receiving a number of other emails to open.
  • Don't send emails that are formatted in the old "chain letter" style. By chain letter, I mean, those that say, "send to 10 other people within the hour, and back to the original sender, within an hour or bad luck will happen". No one has time to fiddle with chain letter emails - even if they don't include the "bad luck" message. Just send the email. If they like the message they will send it on to others.
  • Minimize the size of graphics you send. Some files are so large that they clog up and shut down the server. A reasonable size is 25K or less - definitely no larger than 80K.
  • Unless it is a personal email to a friend or family, be short and concise. People are busy and don't have time to read long drawn-out emails. Long emails might be set aside for later reading and chances are they may be forgotten.
  • Don't send off-color jokes or graphics to someone's office email. Employers have the right to open and read their employees email. A person could get reprimanded or fired for having tasteless emails on their computer.
  • Always check the spelling in your emails. Punctuation and grammar has never gone out of style. You will appear less intelligent if you send an email full of typos.
  • Don't write an email that you never intended to send - such as a nasty remark to the boss. Some email programs send the email upon Internet connection. And even though you might have just been letting off steam and never intended to send it, you might be surprised to find the email is on its way to the boss.

Email can be fun and functional. Let's do what we can to keep it that way. Email responsibly...

Business articles by Connie Eccles, Editor of ComPortOne
Other Articles written by ComPortOne's Editor, Connie Eccles
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