Date Created: Sat 14-Feb-2009

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Some generic simple email best practices

Today in almost all organisations the sending emails has become the main way we communicate with each other as a result of all that volume, it will help if all follow "Email Best Practices" to ensure that email systems operate smoothly. Using these handy hints below will allow organisations IT departments to protect corporate information and allow the use or email systems to our organisations best of advantage.

Creating Email messages
  • Keep messages brief
  • Include a short descriptive subject header.
  • Be realistic about your audience: send an email to "all employees" in your branch only when it is truly relevant to every individual.
  • Consider use of ‘Return Receipt’ & ‘prevent copying’ settings before sending an email. These options will confirm receipt and prevent confidential information being sent to other parties. Please remember that highly confidential or sensitive material should never be sent by email over the internet as we have no control over its security once the document has left your organisations network.
  • Avoid use of all CAPS in your email as this is viewed as "shouting" in email jargon
  • Use the spell check features in your email software as much as possible to be more professional.
  • Avoid the use of graphics in your email signature as they will simply increase the size of an email and will rarely be seen by external companies.

Emails and Attachments
  • Only attach files where necessary
  • If a document is available on the network\Intranet, just send a link instead of the file. This uses less space on our servers.
  • Use the Reply without Attachment(s) option. Unless you need to annotate and resend the document, there is no need to reply with original attachments in place. Replying with an attachment takes twice the capacity.
  • If sending multiple attachments, consider using Winzip or WinRar to zip the files into a single smaller files.

Addressing Emails
  • Do not Email ‘All Employees’ unless absolutely necessary; not only is it not always necessary to contact every individual in the branch or company individually; it also slows the system.
  • Put the recipients' name(s) in the bcc field of the email (this prevents the reply to all option being used and unnecessary emails being sent to everyone).
  • Set up distribution lists for groups you email regularly. Also remember to review your distribution lists periodically to ensure they are up to date.

Inbox Housekeeping
  • Try to read incoming mail daily, action urgent matters and delete unwanted emails as soon as possible.
  • Keep your Inbox clear by filing essential mail in personal folders.
  • Delete Personal Emails from your mail file
  • Never reply to junk mail messages even to remove yourself from a distribution list. This only confirms the email address is a valid account and your address will be sold to other junk mailers. From reputable high street companies it is advisable to take your name off a mailing list.

On holiday, or out of the office
  • Set the ‘Out of Office’ to notify customers and colleagues you are away
  • For long period of absences allow colleagues to access and maintain your mailbox.

Virus \ Spam mail
  • If you think an email is suspicious delete it without opening. If you have accidentally clicked on a suspicious attachment or link call your organisations helpdesk.
  • If you are sent an Email with a virus the system will firstly try to clean the attachment and if this is not possible it will be deleted. The system will then append a note to the end of the Email for information only. You do not need to call your helpdesk.
  • Never respond to Emails asking for personal information. Requests for personal information such as User ID, account password, or bank account information are a clear indication that the email is a spoof.
  • Never forward information about a possible virus as these are nearly always a hoax.
  • Be aware of spoof emails that appear to have a legitimate email address in the "From" field.

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Steve Robinson - IBM Champion 2013

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Steve Robinson has been working in IT for over 20 years and has provided solutions for many large-enterprise corporate companies across the world. Steve specialises in Java and Middleware.

In January 2013, I was awarded the prestigous 'IBM Champion' accolade.

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