E-Mail@Work: Get Moving with Digital Communication

E-Mail@Work: Get Moving with Digital Communication

by Jonathan Whelan

Paperback

$24.00

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780273644651
Publisher: Pearson Professional Education
Publication date: 03/27/2000
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.66(d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

E-mail is no longer just a method of communicating in business, it is a way of doing business.

Nevertheless, like any form of communication, we have to learn to use it wisely.

In less than fifty years computers have redefined the way that we communicate. We are now experiencing a social, commercial and communications revolution of which the Internet is probably the greatest single contributor. The first main use of the Internet was to send text messages (that is, e-mail) and this is still the way that most people use it today.

In the time it takes you to read this preface another 200 people will have connected to the Internet for the first time and will be using e-mail.

The rapidly increasing use of the Internet, combined with advances in computer technology and the reducing cost of electronic and mobile communications mean that e-mail now sits alongside face-to-face contact, the phone and the fax machine as a primary method of communication. Many businesses already rely on e-mail for their day-to-day operations, for example:

  • Selling products and services. Many companies now enable their customers to place orders by e-mail.
  • Responding to customer queries. Most company web sites include the e-mail addresses of various contacts.
  • Communicating with 'field staff'. Devices such as laptops, palmtops and mobile phones, combined with digital telecommunication networks, enable field staff to stay in touch with base.
  • Distributing information around the business. Using attachments to distribute information that is in electronic format (such asreports, agendas, spreadsheets and drawings).
  • Marketing and advertising. Providing automated mailings to existing and potential customers.
  • Projecting the company image. Communicating with external contacts such as customers, suppliers and business partners.

Although e-mail is a relatively young method of communicating, it has already proved itself to be an effective business tool.

Why You Should Read This Book

There is a tendency to treat e-mail as a one-to-one, confidential way of communicating, similar to a phone call, and so take part in informal, unstructured written conversation. But e-mails are not a confidential way of communicating and messages can easily be copied to other people in a context that can make the original content unsuitable, misleading, offensive or legally hazardous.

Exchanging superficial messages, copying jokes to friends and copying messages to others unnecessarily - just because it is easy to do - may seem harmless, but in reality it wastes time and may contain significant dangers. Many businesses have already suffered the consequences of e-mail abuse.

However, it is not enough for businesses to protect themselves from the dangers of e-mail, they must also look to make it work for them.

E-mail is a quick, convenient, easy-to-use, low-cost way of communicating both internally and externally and businesses should use it effectively.

Technology is moving fast and so too is the way that technology is being used. There are already businesses that use software to convert speech to text, eliminating the need even to type their messages and there are businesses who ire using advanced pattern recognition technology automatically to read and respond to the messages which they receive.

If you use e-mail in business do you honestly know the answers to the following questions?

  • Does your company have a strategy that aims to get the very best out of email while at the same time minimizing the risks of using it?
  • Does your company have guidelines covering the use of e-mail? Can you be sure that those guidelines are being followed by your staff?
  • What would be the impact on your business if your e-mail system was unavailable for a prolonged period?
  • Do you manage your e-mail messages effectively? Do you store them only as long as you need to? Do you back-up important messages? Can you retrieve backed-up messages if you need to?

There are also specific questions that are asked frequently but the answers are often buried in doubt or jargon. For example:

  • Can your e-mail messages be used as evidence in a court of law?
  • Should your company e-mail messages contain the same information that is on your company stationery (such as your registered office address and company registration number in the UK)?
  • Can you confirm a contract with a customer by sending them an e-mail?
  • Do employers have the right to look at the e-mail messages that their employees send and receive?

This book answers these questions and many others. It is a definitive practical guide to using e-mail in business, avoiding the pitfalls and exploiting its potential.

Who Should Read This Book

It doesn't matter:

  • what sort of business you are in
  • whether you are an employer or employee
  • what level you are within your organization
  • whether you are a frequent or occasional e-mail user
  • what sort of computer you use which e-mail system you use whether you consider yourself to be a computer novice or wizard.
  • If you use or are considering using e-mail at work, or if you are responsible for staff who use e-mail as part of their work, then this book is for you.

    How This Book Is Organized

    Chapter 1: Introduction
    Chapter 1 sets the scene for the rest of the book. It discusses the implications of technology on business communications and the role that e-mail has to play in today's commercial world.

    Chapter 2: A Closer Look at E-mail
    Chapter 2 discusses the key characteristics of e-mail together with its strengths and weaknesses. It covers topics related to e-mail such as speech recognition, video-mail and electronic commerce and looks at the future direction of e-mail.

    Chapter 3: Managing Your Mail
    Chapter 3 looks at the practicalities of e-mail accounts, storing, archiving, retrieving and filtering messages, working with distribution and address lists, attachments and other office-related activities.

    Chapter 4: E-mail and Security
    Chapter 4 is devoted to the security needs of e-mail. It identifies the key security risks and suggests ways that you can protect the contents of your messages.

    Chapter 5: E-mail and the Law
    Chapter 5 considers the legal status of e-mail and discusses the legal issues which e-mail users face and provides guidance to help you address them.

    Chapter 6: Developing a Business E-mail Policy
    Chapter 6 discusses a business e-mail policy as one way to manage e-mail risks and it provides step-by-step guidance to creating a policy. Sample e-mail policies and disclaimer notices are also included.

    Chapter 7: Creating Good Messages
    Chapter 7 is about writing good e-mail messages. It identifies the characteristics of a good mail message and provides a checklist of questions to ask before you send a message. The focus is on writing effective, professional messages.

    Using the Book

    The chapters can be read as a stand-alone text. Each chapter starts with an 'at a glance' section which provides a brief insight into the topics discussed. Therefore you will get a good idea of the content before exploring the detail. At the end of each chapter there is a summary of the key points raised.

    At the end of the book there is a set of appendices that provide additional information to the main text and a glossary of the computing terms used.

    Dotted throughout the book are examples, tips, watch points and case studies, designed to reinforce the messages contained within the text.

    Table of Contents

    1. Introduction.
    The communications revolution. Effect of e-mail in business. E-mail as a business risk. Making e-mail work for you is e-mail in practice. Summary.

    2. A closer look at a-mail.
    E-mail's key characteristics. E-mail and related topics. The future of e-mail. Summary .

    3. Managing your mail.
    Why manage your mail? Managing your messages. Addresses, address lists and distribution lists. Working with attachments. Using filters and auto-management facilities. Managing spam. Managing messages on the move. Working off-line. Rules of good e-mail management. Summary.

    4. E-mail and security.
    The need for security. Elements of security. Encryption. Attachments. Operational considerations. Choosing a secure e-mail product. Security in practice. Summary.

    5. E-mail and the law.
    General aspects of the law. Questions worth asking. Key aspects of the law. Effective service. E-mail and company stationery. Taking legal action. Answers to the questions worth asking. Summary.

    6. Developing a business e-mail policy.
    The need for a business e-mail policy. When to create a policy. What steps to take. What makes a good policy? Who to involve. Communicating the policy. Reviewing existing policies and procedures. Beyond a policy. Summary.

    7. Creating good messages.
    What makes a good message? The purpose of your message. Addressing messages. Message structure. Attaching files to messages. Writing clearly. Protecting messages. Other features of e-mail messages. Rules of good e-mail messages. Summary.

    Appendices.
    A. Finding someone's e-mail address.
    B. Public key infrastructure explained.
    C. Example business e-mail policy statements.
    D. Example disclaimer and confidentiality notices.
    Glossary.
    Index.

    Preface

    PREFACE:

    Preface

    E-mail is no longer just a method of communicating in business, it is a way of doing business.

    Nevertheless, like any form of communication, we have to learn to use it wisely.

    In less than fifty years computers have redefined the way that we communicate. We are now experiencing a social, commercial and communications revolution of which the Internet is probably the greatest single contributor. The first main use of the Internet was to send text messages (that is, e-mail) and this is still the way that most people use it today.

    In the time it takes you to read this preface another 200 people will have connected to the Internet for the first time and will be using e-mail.

    The rapidly increasing use of the Internet, combined with advances in computer technology and the reducing cost of electronic and mobile communications mean that e-mail now sits alongside face-to-face contact, the phone and the fax machine as a primary method of communication. Many businesses already rely on e-mail for their day-to-day operations, for example:

    • Selling products and services. Many companies now enable their customers to place orders by e-mail.
    • Responding to customer queries. Most company web sites include the e-mail addresses of various contacts.
    • Communicating with 'field staff'. Devices such as laptops, palmtops and mobile phones, combined with digital telecommunication networks, enable field staff to stay in touch with base.
    • Distributing information around the business. Using attachments to distribute information that is in electronic format (suchasreports, agendas, spreadsheets and drawings).
    • Marketing and advertising. Providing automated mailings to existing and potential customers.
    • Projecting the company image. Communicating with external contacts such as customers, suppliers and business partners.

    Although e-mail is a relatively young method of communicating, it has already proved itself to be an effective business tool.

    Why You Should Read This Book

    There is a tendency to treat e-mail as a one-to-one, confidential way of communicating, similar to a phone call, and so take part in informal, unstructured written conversation. But e-mails are not a confidential way of communicating and messages can easily be copied to other people in a context that can make the original content unsuitable, misleading, offensive or legally hazardous.

    Exchanging superficial messages, copying jokes to friends and copying messages to others unnecessarily - just because it is easy to do - may seem harmless, but in reality it wastes time and may contain significant dangers. Many businesses have already suffered the consequences of e-mail abuse.

    However, it is not enough for businesses to protect themselves from the dangers of e-mail, they must also look to make it work for them.

    E-mail is a quick, convenient, easy-to-use, low-cost way of communicating both internally and externally and businesses should use it effectively.

    Technology is moving fast and so too is the way that technology is being used. There are already businesses that use software to convert speech to text, eliminating the need even to type their messages and there are businesses who ire using advanced pattern recognition technology automatically to read and respond to the messages which they receive.

    If you use e-mail in business do you honestly know the answers to the following questions?

    • Does your company have a strategy that aims to get the very best out of email while at the same time minimizing the risks of using it?
    • Does your company have guidelines covering the use of e-mail? Can you be sure that those guidelines are being followed by your staff?
    • What would be the impact on your business if your e-mail system was unavailable for a prolonged period?
    • Do you manage your e-mail messages effectively? Do you store them only as long as you need to? Do you back-up important messages? Can you retrieve backed-up messages if you need to?

    There are also specific questions that are asked frequently but the answers are often buried in doubt or jargon. For example:

    • Can your e-mail messages be used as evidence in a court of law?
    • Should your company e-mail messages contain the same information that is on your company stationery (such as your registered office address and company registration number in the UK)?
    • Can you confirm a contract with a customer by sending them an e-mail?
    • Do employers have the right to look at the e-mail messages that their employees send and receive?

    This book answers these questions and many others. It is a definitive practical guide to using e-mail in business, avoiding the pitfalls and exploiting its potential.

    Who Should Read This Book

    It doesn't matter:

  • what sort of business you are in
  • whether you are an employer or employee
  • what level you are within your organization
  • whether you are a frequent or occasional e-mail user
  • what sort of computer you use which e-mail system you use whether you consider yourself to be a computer novice or wizard.
  • If you use or are considering using e-mail at work, or if you are responsible for staff who use e-mail as part of their work, then this book is for you.

    How This Book Is Organized

    Chapter 1: Introduction
    Chapter 1 sets the scene for the rest of the book. It discusses the implications of technology on business communications and the role that e-mail has to play in today's commercial world.

    Chapter 2: A Closer Look at E-mail
    Chapter 2 discusses the key characteristics of e-mail together with its strengths and weaknesses. It covers topics related to e-mail such as speech recognition, video-mail and electronic commerce and looks at the future direction of e-mail.

    Chapter 3: Managing Your Mail
    Chapter 3 looks at the practicalities of e-mail accounts, storing, archiving, retrieving and filtering messages, working with distribution and address lists, attachments and other office-related activities.

    Chapter 4: E-mail and Security
    Chapter 4 is devoted to the security needs of e-mail. It identifies the key security risks and suggests ways that you can protect the contents of your messages.

    Chapter 5: E-mail and the Law
    Chapter 5 considers the legal status of e-mail and discusses the legal issues which e-mail users face and provides guidance to help you address them.

    Chapter 6: Developing a Business E-mail Policy
    Chapter 6 discusses a business e-mail policy as one way to manage e-mail risks and it provides step-by-step guidance to creating a policy. Sample e-mail policies and disclaimer notices are also included.

    Chapter 7: Creating Good Messages
    Chapter 7 is about writing good e-mail messages. It identifies the characteristics of a good mail message and provides a checklist of questions to ask before you send a message. The focus is on writing effective, professional messages.

    Using the Book

    The chapters can be read as a stand-alone text. Each chapter starts with an 'at a glance' section which provides a brief insight into the topics discussed. Therefore you will get a good idea of the content before exploring the detail. At the end of each chapter there is a summary of the key points raised.

    At the end of the book there is a set of appendices that provide additional information to the main text and a glossary of the computing terms used.

    Dotted throughout the book are examples, tips, watch points and case studies, designed to reinforce the messages contained within the text.

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