REPís Handbook On-Line

Representatives Handbook

E-MAIL PROTOCOLS

When you are sending messages, remember that they should be short and informal, and that they can't replace a phone call.

An enormous amount of time and energy is wasted in the corporate world by people struggling with incompatible formats, files that never arrived, and attachments that got garbled or stripped off the message.  Try not to send attachments unless it is absolutely necessary.

Exercise extreme care in opening up files from strangers to avoid virus problems.

Don't send e-mail when you're tired or furious; wait for a calmer moment to respond.

Never substitute e-mail for a necessary face-to-face meeting - especially when it comes to reprimanding, rewarding, or firing someone.

Also remember that misdirected messages can get messy, especially when they are of a personal nature.

Don't pass on rumour or innuendo about real people. This could come back to haunt you. E-mail can be easily forwarded to the wrong person, or worse, to the subject of your non-affection.

Not only does e-mail have an uncanny ability of being resurrected, as Microsoft knows, it can also be used against you in a court of law.

Do not send an abusive or insulting e-mail -- is usually a mistake. Would you say it in person? If not, don't send it.

If it absolutely must be perfect, then don't e-mail it. E-mail can be the Bermuda Triangle of writing. Punctuation, spelling and grammar get mysteriously lost. If your message must be error-free, it should be sent by another medium. If you insist on sending it via e-mail, print it out and go over it line by line for errors.

Having said that, e-mail is no excuse for poor grammar, bad spelling, terrible punctuation and forgetting to capitalize proper nouns. If you have the necessary intelligence to use a computer to communicate with the entire planet, check out the spell check program too.

Don't be anonymous. Add your contact information to the end of your message (called a signature) to ensure that people know who you are. Unsigned e-mail is similar to an unsigned letter - hurried and blundering.  Include your name, or nickname, and your return e-mail address.

Keep subject lines appropriate to the contents of the message.

Keep your messages brief without being curt. When replying, include enough of the original message to be understood - but no more.

Do NOT send terse, one-line replies.

Send a message directly to its intended recipient and post to the list as a whole only if appropriate.

ALL UPPER CASE CHARACTERS MEANS YOU ARE SHOUTING. Use mixed case characters in your message.

Remember a smiley does not negate an insulting remark.

Apply common sense "reality checks" before assuming a message is valid. Say to yourself "would I believe this tale if this message came to me in the regular mail?"

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