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[answered] BUSINESS COMMUNICATION NOTEBOOK: Technology Caution! Email


BUSINESS COMMUNICATION NOTEBOOK: Technology

Caution! Email Can Bite

Gone are the days when memos were dictated, typed, revised, retyped, photocopied, and circulated by interoffice ?snail? mail. Today, email messages are created, sent, received, and forwarded in the blink of an eye, and at the stroke of a key. But this quick and efficient method of communication can cause a great deal of trouble for companies.

One of the greatest features?and dangers?of email is that people tend to treat it far more informally than other forms of business communication. They think of email as casual conversation and routinely make unguarded comments. Moreover, they are led to believe that deleting email destroys it permanently. But that?s a dangerous misunderstanding of technology.

Even after you delete an email message, it can still exist on the system?s hard drive and backup storage devices at both the sender?s and the recipient?s location. Deleting files only signals the computer that the space required to store the message is no longer needed. The space is so marked, but the data that occupy that space continue to exist until the computer overwrites it with new data. Thus, deleted messages are recoverable?even though doing so is an involved and expensive process?and can be used as court evidence against you and your company. Embarrassing email has played a big role in corporate battles. In the high-profile Microsoft court battle, for instance, email emerged as the star witness.

So how can companies guard against potential email embarrassment and resulting litigation? Besides restricting the use of email by employees, monitoring employees? email, developing company email policies, and reprimanding or terminating offenders, companies can train their employees to treat email as any other form of written communication. Perhaps one of

the best ways to ensure that employee messages won?t come back to haunt the company is to teach employees that email messages are at least as permanent as letters and memos?if not more so.

To make sure that you use email effectively, efficiently, and safely, follow these guidelines:

  • ?Don?t send large files (including large attachments) without prior notice.
  • ?Proofread every message.
  • ?Respect other people?s electronic space by sending messages only when necessary.
  • ?Respond to messages quickly.
  • ?Avoid overusing the label ?urgent.?
  • ?Be careful about using the ?reply all? button.
  • ?Remember that email isn?t always private.
  • ?Use the ?Save as Draft? feature to give yourself time to consider style and tone for important messages.
  • ?Remember, many people read their emails on smartphones, so keep messages brief and to the point.
  • ?Use complete sentences with proper punctuation and spelling.

Applications for Success

Improve your email skills by reading ?The Art of Writing Email? (www.net-market.com/email.htm). Whether you?re working for a company or for yourself, be sure to give your email messages as much consideration as you give more formal types of communication.

Answer the following questions:

  • 1.?Why do you think that most people treat email so casually?
  • 2.?What kinds of things do you think a company should address in an email policy?
  • 3.?Do you think that companies have the right to monitor employees? email? Explain.

 


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