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10 Top Tips for Using Email

Email is a very powerful tool which can be equally frustrating. Sadly many people don't make the effort to ensure they are being helpful and responsible email users. 90% of the world's email problems would evaporate if everyone followed these ten tips.

  1. Make sure the recipient is either expecting the email or won't mind receiving it.
  2. Make sure your email software is set up to display your return name and email address correctly. Use a meaningful name for yourself, e.g. "Brian Kirk" or "Superclean Domestic Services". Do not use non-specific names or names which won't mean anything to some people, e.g. "Grandma" or "The Gang".
  3. Always Include a subject line and make sure it tells the recipient what the email is about, e.g. "This months sales results" or "Plans for the weekend".
  4. Be very clear and specific in your email (without being too waffly). Tell the person who you are and why you are contacting them. Don't just send an attachment and hope they will figure it out for themselves.
  5. Only send attachments if they are necessary, e.g. don't use a MS Word document to send text which could have been typed into the email instead.
  6. If including attachments, make sure the recipient will have the appropriate software to open it (not all attachments will work on someone else's computer). Check the file size and make sure it's not too big. Click here for more info about attachments.
    When sending photos or other images, optimise the file size first. Don't send photos from the default scanner or digital camera settings. Click here for more info about image files.
  7. Resist the temptation to use pretty stationery or unnecessary graphics. They annoy a lot of people and some email programs have trouble displaying them.
  8. Never reply to spam.
  9. Be very careful and restrained about forwarding jokes and other similar material. Most people receive too much of it already. Never forward chain emails.
  10. And finally, make sure you use reliable anti-virus software and update it every day. If you don't, then you are as much to blame for the spread of viruses as anyone. This point is not negotiable - if you are connected to the internet, you must be protected or you are a danger to everyone else.