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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Communicating—Using E-mail

I apologize for the length of this letter. If there had been sufficient time, I'd have made it shorter.
GOETHE

E-mail is fast replacing faxes and regular mail as the primary written form of communication. The ability to send messages around the world in seconds possesses real advantages over other forms of communication, so one can expect this form of communication to grow at a very rapid rate. Using e-mail effectively will improve the way others view you. Use these tips to be an effective modern-day communicator.

  1. Make communicating responses a priority — particularly those required by clients. It will impress them. Responding on the same day is ideal — within the hour will impress the hell out of them!

  2. Keep your communications less formal than you normally would. For example, it is not necessary to let people know that you are replying to their letter of such and such a date. They already know these details.

  3. Keep your messages short. This will not only reduce your composition and downloading time, but will also save the reader uploading time and needless eyestrain.

  4. If your message is long, consider sending it as an attachment, enabling the reader to review it off-line.

  5. Write in short paragraphs to get clear messages across. Leave a blank line between paragraphs to make it clear when you are changing thoughts or topics.

  6. Always include a title in the subject line. Make your title concise and compelling.

  7. Use the "cc" box if you feel that your information may be of interest to others. However, if you'd rather not let the reader know that you're sending the e-mail to others, include these people in your "bcc" box.

  8. Avoid sending sound and pictures unless you are able to compress them. Failure to do so will extend the downloading time considerably and cause your reader annoyance.

  9. Print and keep a hard copy of important e-mails and your responses to them.

  10. Don't use all capital letters. It isn't done regularly and shouldn't be done in e-mail. People feel as if you are shouting at them.

  11. While e-mails appear private, they are not. They may be passed on to or retrieved by people with whom you had no intention of communicating. Be careful of your language and humour.

  12. Be mindful of the messages you pass on. Do so very selectively. Messages about virus warnings and contests may interest or amuse you, but they can be annoying to others. Seek people's permission to download information that is outside the boundaries of your regular communications.

  13. When replying, double-check to ensure that you are sending your response only to Person A, and not to a group listserv.

  14. Don't include a full text of what you received in your return mail unless it's short. Instead, consider copying only those parts that you are replying to.

  15. The better e-mail programs allow you to filter unwanted e-mails. Others that may be less important can be dumped into a folder for review when you have some spare time.


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