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How to Use E-Mail Effectively

Email is the "killer app" (must-have application) of the Internet. For most of the history of the Internet it was about the only application.

It has since become one of the most important business tools ever. Its invention rivals that of the postage stamp, the telegraph, the telephone and the fax. I personally prefer it to any of these.

Of course, as with any medium it can be abused, usually in the form of spam. However, for quick, cheap and increasingly global communication, nothing beats it. Your use of email speaks volumes about your business.

First of all, there is the common advice concerning "netiquette" (Inter-Net etiquette). DO NOT FLAME. THIS IS FLAMING WHEN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPS. It is considered rude and done only when you need to get someone's attention. Keep the faces :-) ( -:at a minimum, too.

A well-written email is like a well-written letter. Put in the subject field, especially when writing to someone for the first time. Some people pay no attention to an email with this. Be polite, start with a greeting and end with a salutation (these can become progressively shorter the more you write to someone). Spell-check.

Email is sometimes misinterpreted because, unlike a telephone conversation, there is no modulation of the voice. Jokes, especially, are sometimes not understood. Let the reader know it is a joke, either by saying so or using our little friend ;-).

A word to Microsoft Outlook Express users. The default font is set at 9 points. This is extremely difficult to read on every monitor ever made for anyone with another email program. Why Mr. Bill did this was a mystery to me until I realized that this doesn't happen on his program.

Change it. Click on Tools at the top of the window. Select Stationery. On both News and Mail click on Font Settings. At each window choose at least 12. Click OK. When you have changed both News and Mail click on Apply at the bottom of the Stationery Window, then OK. This will make everyone happier.

I know these instructions are complex (copy the paragraph and paste it into a blank email form for later reference). I wonder why?

Sending out a batch of emails ? Do not put all the addresses into the To: field. Put them into the Bcc: field. This stands for Blind Carbon Copy and the only address received will be the person who receives it. This saves everyone from slogging through a lot of addresses and keeps everyone's address private.

Sending out a graphic? Read this.

Don't send out virus alerts or appeals for money or anything that says "email this to all your friends" until you have checked them out. Don't send daily jokes to anyone who has not told you they wanted them. All of these things clog the already crowded bandwidth.

Be a good Net citizen.


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