In many ways, email is a wonderful way of keeping in touch. It allows us a convenient and low cost way to stay in contact with family, friends, and acquaintances that we may not otherwise stay in touch with. However, there are certain common sense rules to use to prevent email from becoming a nuisance to both ourselves and others. Here are some tips to follow to keep email the excellent tool that it is.
1. Change the subject line after the first exchange.
This doesn't have to be difficult. You don't have to come up with a brand new subject for each email in a multi-email exchange, but if the recipient is like me, he or she saves each email. Even adding a number to the subject (ex "2 - dinner" or "3 - dinner" makes it easier for the recipient to locate an email that he or she wishes to re-read or needs to get information from. In some cases, changing the subject line could prevent an email being deleted or lost because it was thought to be a duplicate.
2. Reformat emails for forwarding.
We've all received emails that have been forwarded to us that contain arrows indicating the forwarded portions. The problem here isn't really a single forward, but often a single email has been forwarded to several parties. Each forward creates another arrow. Haven't you received emails with >>> preceding each line. Take the time to remove the arrows. better yet, copy and paste the original email into a new email. Also, always remove any email addresses contained in the headers of the email that do not belong to you.
3. Don't send chain emails.
There is one word to describe a chain email. That is SPAM. I find it very irritating when someone that knows me well enough that they have my personal email address sends me an email that ends with "send this to 10 friends within 10 minutes of opening it". We all know that we won't have all our wishes granted or have something horrible happen to us if we don't pass the email on so why frustrate our friends and fill their inbox with spam?
4. Delete the trailing old messages in a new email.
Unless there's a compelling reason (like your email friend's hard drive crashed and he lost all of your previous correspondence about a subject) cut off all but the last previous message in an email. Most email programs tack the old message to the end of a new message. The result could end up to be one huge email if bit you and the person you are writing to just hit reply without deleting these old messages.
5. Don't show other's email addresses.
One thing that email simplifies is sending the same information to a group, sometimes a large group, of people. Most email programs allow you to either separate email addresses with commas, or just click on names in your address book to send out many emails at once. The problem is that all those email addresses are visible to the recipient. Does old Aunt Kay, really want the guy you play racquet ball with to have her email address? Instead of adding other recipients to the "to" line use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) for the other addresses. All your intended recipients get the email but they don't get a whole address book's worth of email addresses.
Article copyright © 2006 JCWW Design
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