I’ll Email You

Written By: John Geiger

I’ll E-mail You There are truly very few of us living today that have not read, written or forwarded e-mails to someone. E-mail has become an integrated part of our information-overloaded lives offering immediate gratification whether to inform, or to be informed.

As all communications require both a sender and a receiver, there are continuous opportunities for misunderstanding and annoyance. Due to the speed and efficiency of e-mail, these aggravations can be magnified quite rapidly as anyone who receives scores of unwanted messages per day can attest. In an effort to contribute something to world peace, the following tips for sending, receiving and general handling of e-mail may help to calm our lives just a bit.

First of all, e-mail is not the end-all communications method. Telephone, telefax, and tell-your- Mom are all still tried and true means of effective communication as well as some newer varieties like web-logs, web-boards, instant messages, text messages and the like. We have choices to fit all lifestyles (and budgets) intents and purposes. But as with nutrition, too much of any one thing is not healthy, and we should strive for balance. Voice communication offers intonation, face-to-face communications add expression and body language, and the hand-written letter a sense of care, thought and deliberation. E-mail today holds a primary position for immediacy and completeness with the ability to attach photos, documents, imbed animation, links, and virtually infinite amounts of information.

Tips for receiving e-mail: 1. Safeguard your e-mail address. If you shop or otherwise spend time on the internet and provide your e-mail address, it can be used to build databases and automatically generate e-mails to you both wanted and un-wanted. Establish a free e-mail address at Yahoo, MSN or similar service to use for online activity, saving your primary e-mail address for your important communications. 2. Don’t open attachments from people you don’t recognize. These can carry malicious elements such as viruses which can bring your computer to a screeching halt as well as pass the favor on to others without your knowledge. If uncertain, use one of the other communications methods mentioned above to verify the legitimacy of the attachment.

Replying do’s and don’ts: 1. Know who you are replying to. Sounds simple, but there are countless stories of forwarded e-mails ending up in unintended hands due to careless forwarding, or miss-typed e-mail addresses. Note on the received e-mail if there are others copied, and make sure you know if your reply is going to the originator or all original recipients. 2. Use your e-mail program to store an address book to avoid miss-typing addresses and help anti-spam programs filter out unsolicited mail. 3. Avoid volleying to clarify personal conflict, emotional, or other sensitive issues. Remembering the lack of intonation, body language and other clues to intent, it is easy to miss the point when emotions are at stake. Pick up the phone, or go see the person to clarify. 4. Don’t hide behind replies as “action passed”. It is often too easy to forward an e-mail and think that action passed is action completed.

Writing tips: 1. Be brief. 2. Don’t use all capital letters in a message. It is rude. 3. Consider your recipient in terms of time, attitudes, and technology. If your recipient has a dial-up modem, don’t send large photos or otherwise difficult messages to receive. 4. Keep it clean. 4. Remember e-mails are permanent records. They can not be thrown in the fireplace and destroyed forever. Electronic copies exist in multiple places making it virtually impossible to erase all instances and history.

Now have at it and enjoy e-mailing with more confidence and peace.
About the Author

John Geiger owns and operates a local affiliate of WSI Internet Consulting and Education, a Toronto based global network of consultants, developers and production centers providing consultation as well as turn-key internet business solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. Contact John at (828) 328-5929 or jrgeiger@webmasters-wsi.com

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