Top 7 Strategies to Keep Control of Your Email Communication
By Stephanie L. H. Calahan
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We once thought that e-mail and computers would help us eliminate the paper in our lives and make us all more organized. Reality strikes! More communication than ever is traveling in cyber-space and a lot of it is hitting your in-box. There are things you can do to make e-mail management easier for you and for those you e-mail to.
- Consider Before You Write -
Consider carefully what you write; it's a permanent record and can be easily forwarded to others. Never accuse people, call them names, suggest they aren't being smart or criticize their spelling. Assume their intentions are genuine. Avoid sarcasm. Be polite and assertive if necessary (i.e. to spammers) but not vindictive.
- E-Mail Should be Organized into Files -
Set up folders in your e-mail program so you can sort incoming e-mail. You could sort by what you have to do, who it is from or subject. Also, most email programs have filters you can set so that the program does the filing for you!
- E-Mail Management -
If you frequently send the same type of email, save a copy as a draft or template that you can reuse over & over (changing the specifics such as name, date and amount for each email). Many e-mail programs have the ability to save pre-formatted stationry you can recall over and over. Need help learning how to do that? Let us know!
- Avoid Cyber-speak -
Not everyone is familiar with the cute acronyms used in e-mail correspondence, such as IMHO (in my humble opinion) or FWIW (for what it's worth). Performing a mental translation each time slows down the reader. Don't make reading difficult for them.
- Be Careful with Punctuation -
A lot of periods can separate thoughts..... but use a lot of exclamation marks and it looks like you're angry!!!!!!!!!! How does a line of question marks look ??????? You might not intend strong emotion, but the other person might think you do.
- Delete all Unnecessary Mail -
Old messages congest servers. Delete old, duplicate or reply version copies and free up space for new incoming mail.
- Use Rules or Autoresponders to Save You Time -
Use autoresponders to offer frequently requested information. These e-mail settings will automatically respond to the sender with a prewritten message. They are often used for brochures, price lists, directions, etc.
Stephanie L. H. Calahan is president and founder of Calahan Solutions, Inc. (http://www.calahansolutions.com) - a premier professional organizing and consulting firm, serving a national and local clientele in corporate settings, home-based businesses, and residential environments.
Article Submitted On: December 17, 2005