by Gerhard Ruf
© copyright 2001
updated 5 January 2001
At the conclusion of this lecture, the student will be familiar
with the factors that make their e-mail messages more effective. The student will
be able to organize folders for storing messages, make attachments and protect
the computer from viruses.
- Email is cheaper and faster than a letter, less intrusive than a phone
call, less hassle than a FAX. Because of the speed at which email is
sent, it is more like having a conversation, than writing a letter.
- Much e-mail is sloppily written and may leave a negative impression on
the recipient. This is due to it being so easy to respond and ask
questions or ask for clarification on a point. The impression that you
leave on the recipient of your message is dependent on how effectively
you communicate your ideas.
- Be succinct and concise in the Subject you give to the message.
Some use REQ, URGENT, FYI at the beginning for context.
- Don't try to cover too many topics in one message.
- Make sure that if you use a signature file, that it does not distract.
- Proof read your document before you send it. (Use a spell checker if
- Don't CAPITALIZE everything, except for emphasis. For example, in a
message on genealogy, you might capitalize the surnames. This makes it
possible for a recipient to quickly scan the message for applicability
to their ancestry.
- When responding to questions, copy the questions from the original in
the reply so you don't have to repeat them.
Allow your software to precede each line or paragraph
with a >.
This provides context and allows you to reply more briefly.
- Keep your lines to 72 characters or less.
- Use text (as opposed to HTML - special formatting) for your messages.
- Email does not lend itself well to sarcasm.
- Leave white space within your message. (a blank line between paragraphs)
- Recognize that the recipient will not see your message the same way as
you typed it. (Font, point size, line wrapping, etc.)
- Concepts and Terms
- Spamming - roughly the equivalent of junk mail.
- Flaming - responding roughly (frequently with bad language).
- Emoticons and abbreviations
BTW - by the way
FWIW - for what it's worth
IMHO - in my humble opinion
LOL - laughing out loud
- Signature file - appended at the bottom of messages automatically
Keep them to 4 or 5 lines.
- File Attachment - Send pictures, formatted documents or programs with your message.
Encoding schemes -
MIME - the most common scheme used today.
BINHEX - used mostly with Macintosh PCs
UUENCODE - an older method
Make sure the recipient can receive your attachments by sending a small one first.
- Managing Your Mailboxes (folders)
- Protecting Yourself from Viruses
- A Final Word About Hoaxes and Urban Legends
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