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Essential Elements of Email Notes-CSEET

Essential Elements of Email Notes-CSEET

E-Correspondence is commonly known as ‘email-correspondence’ or ‘electronic correspondence’. It is an electronic method of providing you with important information on your email address. You must supply a valid email address in order to receive information via email. For example: johndoe@company.com.

Concept of Email

“Electronic mail” or “e-mail” as it is commonly called is the process of sending or receiving a computer file or message by computer modem over telephone wires to a pre-selected “mail box” or “address” on another computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of electronic addresses via mailing lists (through ‘mail-merge’ option). E-mail messages can range from the simplest correspondence to business presentations, engineering blueprints, book chapters, or detailed contracts. Graphics, files of artwork or photography can be transmitted via this technology as well, though text messages comprise the vast majority of e-mail transmissions.

Today, e-mail stands as a central component of business communication, both within business enterprises and between business enterprises, because of the many advantages it offers over regular mail in terms of efficiency, speed, and 24-hour availability. These characteristics have made electronic mail a truly ubiquitous presence across the globe. Indeed, in terms of sheer volume, more than 536 billion pieces of e-mail were delivered in the United States in 1999, according to the eMarketer Internet research firm. Moreover, the eMarketer estimates that in 2000 the number of active e-mail users in America reached 111 million.

Since e-mail has emerged as such an important method of business communication in recent years, it is important for small business owners to know how to use this technology effectively. Towards that end, consultants generally recommend that small business owners and entrepreneurs should select and shape such e-mail packages that emphasize convenience and ease of use.

Electronic mail, known commonly by its abbreviation ‘email’, is probably the most used medium of communication today. 50 years ago, had someone said that it would be possible to instantly deliver documents to a recipient sitting half way across the globe, he would have been a laughing stock. But, email came, saw and conquered the World Wide Web. Today, with email, there’s so much more than just written text communication. Ability of the email to securely forward multimedia, photos, software, etc. has made it very popular. It’s rightly said that ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’, and we humans have always found a way whenever the need arose. The history of email communication is very interesting and intriguing.

History of Email

In 1965, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was the first to demonstrate the use of the first email system known as MAILBOX.

The history of email addresses can also be attributed to Tomlinson. He chose the ‘@’ symbol to provide an addressing standard in the form of “user@host”, which is in use till date. This is why Tomlinson is called the ‘father of email’ and is credited with its invention.

By 1974, email in its improved form was being used by the US military. By 1975, efforts to organize the email bore fruit. A general operating area, known as email account, was created for users who wanted to avail the email service. Access controlling was done by giving the user a secret password, which only he/she would know. Separate folders were created depending on the purpose like. Inbox for incoming messages and outbox for outgoing messages.

Year 1976 was a watershed year in the history of email marketing. Email service was being offered in commercial packages and per-minute charges were applicable to those using these services. This led to the requirement for offline reading, which meant that users could then download their emails on to their personal computers, and read them leisurely without using and paying for the airtime. This led to the development of applications, which were similar to what Microsoft Outlook does today.

Requirement for protocols was felt almost immediately, and in 1972 file transfer protocol (FTP) was put in use to send email messages. The main drawback here was that FTP created a separate mail for every recipient and then dispatched it, which resulted in loss of precious memory space. This prompted the creation of the more efficient SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) in the early 1980s, which became a standard protocol to be used in sending email messages. But the initial versions of SMTP failed to control the cases of forgery and proved to be a naive protocol in the verification of the authenticity of a user. Email viruses, worms and spammers began exploiting these loopholes in SMTP, and even though many new and improved versions have been released, this problem continues to be addressed till date.

If SMTP is used to send messages, POP (Post Office Protocol) is a standard for receiving emails. This protocol is used by email clients to retrieve messages from the mail server using a connection. One drawback of POP is that it does not support offline retrieval of messages. This demerit has now been overcome, by the more capable IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). This is how one comes to know about the offline messages, i.e., messages received when the receiver is not signed in.

By the early 1990s, free and user-friendly email service providers had taken the industry by storm. Players like ‘yahoo’ and ‘hotmail’ were competing for the market share. It was this decade that saw the .com boom, to the extent that almost everyone wanted an email account. Today, there are more than 600 million email users across the globe, with newer players like Google (Gmail) and Rediff entering.

There’s so much more about the origin and history of email, but these were the most important landmark events. Looking at its current usage, we can only add that instant messaging via email is here to stay!

Features of Email

–      Electronic : It is an electronic mode of message transmission as it is sent using HTML (Hyper Text MarkupLanguage)

–      The computer code used to create web pages.

–      Cost-Effective : It is one of the cost-effective modes of fast communication. Today with the advent of smart-phones, communicating through emails has become even more cost-effective.

–      Packages : Packages like ‘Messenger’ and ‘Outlook’ help us compose new mails or forward the received ones to one or all of the people whose email addresses are stored in the ‘Address Box’. They allow us to change font, sizes and colour of the text; highlight, delete, store or save; align, center or justify the text; italicize, bold, underline or even print what we write or receive as email.

–      Interface: An interface between email programme and word processing programme allows us to cut, copy and paste material from one place to the other.

–      Attachments : The ‘Attach’ option allows us to share documents, worksheets, presentations, pictures and videos along with the mails.

–      Spam : Unsolicited or Junk mails can be filtered by using the ‘spam’ option which forbids unwanted mails to enter your inbox. These unwanted mails may be advertisements, job offers, competition forms, etc. which one does not want to receive frequently.

–      Signature : We can customize our signature as we want it to appear in the complimentary closure of every email. Once you add your signature it automatically appears at the end of every mail that you compose. One need not write the name, designation, contact no, etc. again and again.

–      Search : The search option helps us to locate old email communications. This can be achieved by typing the sender’s name in the search box and clicking the search button. It will reflect all mails containing the name so typed.

–      Cloud Storage : A more recent feature is cloud storage. Data can be stored on cloud. This facilitates access and instant updates to multiple users. Google Drive, Dropboxetc are examples companies offering cloud service solutions to enterprises.

–      Changes at the Workplace : This trend of online work has brought about other changes like virtual workplaces, work from home, flexi-time etc.

Features of an Email Accounts

An email account, in general has the following folders:

Inbox: Inbox is the main folder in your email account. It contains all the e-mails that have arrived in your e-mail account. You can click on inbox to see the mails that you have not read (shown in bold) as well as the mails that you have already read (in normal font).

Sent Mail : It shows all the e-mails sent by you from your e-mail account.

Drafts : This folder stores those messages that you have created but have not been sent by you so far. These messages are saved by you for more work.

Spam : Spam is unsolicited e-mails or junk mails. It is generally e-mail advertising sent to group of people. We can also term spam as unwanted e-mails. Spam mails are also a big cause of computer viruses. Spam mails are identified by the mail services and placed in this folder. These spam mails are automatically deleted after few days.

Trash : Any deleted mail is put in the Trash folder. Trash folder allows you to get back an e-mail which have already been deleted. But it is important to know that you can get back the mails only within few days from trash after its deletion. After few days, mails are permanently deleted from trash folder.

An email account, in general has the following options:

Compose Mail : Composing is addressing, writing, and sending an e-mail message. By clicking on the Compose Mail button a window appears where we can write our message in the message box and the email addresses of the person we want to send the mail.

Contacts : The Contacts helps you to find email address of a person whom you have saved in your Contact list. We can also quickly find email conversations associated with a contact, and store additional information about our other persons whose email id is stored in our contacts (such as a mailing address, title, phone number, etc).

To field – you have to put the address of the receiver. In case you want to send email to more than one receiver then put commas between their email addresses or you can use ?add cc. or ?add bcc.

Cc stands for Carbon copy the persons whose address is listed in this field will receive carbon copy of the message and Bcc means blind carbon copy similar to Cc but only difference is that the recipient who had got Bcc is invisible to other recipients.

Subject : The main heading of your mail i.e., it will explain that the mail is regarding which issue. Please note that the subject should be descriptive of the mail to help the receiver understand what mail is about without having to open the mail.

Text Area : The message is written in this area.

Send : you can send the mail by clicking the Send button.

Group Contacts is one such list as explain earlier. Contacts can be organized in different groups like office, school, relatives etc.

Electronic Mail System

Today companies are able to customize their e-mail services to meet their own unique communication needs. E-mail management tools in the market can help entrepreneurs and managers address a wide array of issues from excessive volumes of e-mail and/or excessively large file attachments -both of which can clog e-mail gateways or create network storage burdens -to virus detection, spam blocking, and search ability of e-mail data stores.

Optimizing Personal Email Use

Experts in the fields of business and electronic communication agree that managers and small business owners can take several steps to maximize the efficiency of their company’s e-mail systems. These tips extend from patterns of personal e-mail use to guidelines for companywide e-mail policies.

Professional appearance and content are paramount in an e-mail. Some basic guidelines and action points to be followed are:

–      The standards of professionalism that dictate postal correspondence stay -Proper Grammar, correct spelling, tone, courtesy, structure, content etc.

–      Avoid ‘Emoticons” – smileys, winks etc in official correspondence.

–      Maintain separate accounts for official and personal e-mails. Many organizations have firewalls against personal mails like Yahoo, Gmail etc.

–      Avoid ‘spamming. ’ Maintain a proper distribution list of recipients for your mails.

–      Limit the size of attachments to be received or sent out by e-mail. Organizations have policies and limits for the size of attachments. This helps monitor data security, virus attacks etc.

–      Have a standard signature for your official e-mails – Name, Designation, Phone numbers. This helps in accurate identification.

–      Respond promptly to official e-mail messages – less than 24 hours. In case the response takes more detailed information, write a short reply explaining how long it would take for you to give a proper response. Non-response sends out wrong signals.

–      Set up efficient daily e-mail practices. Today, e-mails are configured on the smartphones, further reducing the expected response time.

–      Delete old messages that can clutter up your inbox. Ensure that your inbox is not cluttered and allows for incoming messages without delay.

–      Review incoming e-mails only at two or three set times a day, rather than peeking at each one as it comes in; and

–      Invest in supplementary tools that can block e-mail spam that clogs many systems.

–      Use the “Reply/Reply All” features with care. Your response may be intended only for the sender and not to all included in the mail.

Important

Use the fields ‘to,’ ‘cc,’ and ‘bcc’ appropriately. The recipients in the ‘to’ are those who need to take action based on your e-mail; those in ‘cc’ are included for information; those in ‘bcc’ are included when the recipients are not known to each other and their e-mail ids are to be kept confidential.

This is important, because spammers love to see a whole slew of e-mail addresses that they can send spam to. Your friends will have good intentions, but those you may only know from a list may not. Hackers now have the addresses of everyone who will be receiving your e-mail. This is neither appropriate nor safe. Instead, choose to send a group or list of people the same message using BCC, which is the kindest and least obvious way to send mail short of encryption.

Also remember that all e-mail sent through normal channels can be intercepted. Therefore, only write what you want the world to see.

Again, the desire to say what we feel must be overcome with the desire to be courteous and professional, which we all know in our hearts, is the better way to communicate.

Proper E-mail Correspondence

Most of us e-mail back and forth every day, so we all deal with different types of e-mail correspondences. Whether it be for business, for personal use or for school, we all need to know the proper ways of sending emails to other people. Keep reading to see if you’re being professional about it or not.

As stated above, e-mail correspondence comes in various colours and designs and it is as creative as the sender makes it. E-mail a decade ago was definitely not the same as the e-mail today. We must be more careful about what we say and how we say it. Words used in an e-mail are like a small, lit match; they can be used to mend fragile relationships, warm the heart and light the way, or they can ignite whole forest aflame that could cause havoc and destruction.

Here is one scenario that may influence varied responses:-

Example

You just paid for some software over the Internet with your credit card. You were told that the software would reach your house in a few days. The item does not reach you in promoted time. No problem, you think. You will just call the 1 -800 number they have on their Website but after redirecting your call four times, you hear the dial tone. You are upset, but you try calling again.

Now, after this phone calling nightmare for almost 45 minutes, you are angry that no one is answering. After all, you paid for the item and you want it. Should you not be angry? Of course you should be, but you can’t get hold of them, so you decide to write an e-mail explaining your mounting frustration about how their customer service was always unavailable over the phone. You are careful to tell them that you have not received your purchase and also include the invoice statement as proof of what you bought. Three days go by and counting. You cannot get this dilemma off your mind. Another e-mail lands you nowhere. You do not know what to do. You tried contacting them, but you got no reply. You decide that you no longer want their software and want your money back. You swear not to deal with this company again, right?

So, you write a third e-mail, but you are not so polite this time. You say, “I will never do any business with you again. You are deaf to my phone calls and e-mails and insult my intelligence. I demand my money back. You are a thief and should not be in business and I will get to the bottom of this.”

Surely, this is a letter you can write, but do you really think you should? Would it make you feel any better?

Maybe, but will it get you what you want? Not likely. In so many cases, we are obliged to overcome how we feel by an act of the will to do what we ought to do.

Now, let’s take the same scenario and use a different technique. Instead, say something like, “Gentlemen, I am writing this e-mail as an addition to my other two. I have not received the item I paid for. It should have arrived two weeks ago. I am concerned that it may have gotten lost in transit or perhaps was overlooked with the many deliveries you are responsible for at your warehouse. I have also tried to contact you by phone twice, but there was some difficulty and my calls never got through. I would appreciate hearing from you regarding this matter.

Thank you.”

A reply from the company finally comes and it says, “We apologize for not being able to get back to you about your purchase. Our servers were hacked into and we just got back online. It was also very alarming that we found our customer backup data was deleted. Please accept our apologies. Because of this delay, we are sending your purchase free of charge and we hope that this might retain you as one of our loyal customers.”

Again, the desire to say what we feel must be overcome with the desire to be courteous and professional, which we all know in our hearts, is the better way to communicate.

There are many occasions however, when you simply do not hear back at all from a vendor. What do you do then? There is one more example of the proper way to send an e-mail.

This is one that is sent to many people. There is a thoughtful way to include others that will be the recipient of such mail. We all have had times that we find something useful to send or we find that there are stories that are uplifting that we want to share. How do we send a story like that to many people where safety and courtesy are concerns? Certainly one way is to address your e-mail to each recipient. There is nothing wrong with this. Each person receives it and each person feels special, because you addressed your e-mail to him/her alone.

Suppose however, you would like to send the same e-mail to all of your readers at one time. Most of all e-mail recipients are known to have what is called Carbon Copy (CC) and Blind Carbon Copy (BCC). Here we want to be careful that only one person at a time will see your mail without seeing the address of every person you are sending it to. If we use CC, every person’s address is listed for each e-mail recipient to see, but if we use BCC, only the address of person in the ‘ To:’ box is seen.

This is important, because spammers love to see a whole slew of e-mail addresses that they can send spam to.

Your friends will have good intentions, but those you may only know from a list may not. Hackers now have the addresses of everyone who will be receiving your e-mail. This is neither appropriate nor safe. Instead, choose to send a group or list of people the same message using BCC, which is the kindest and least obvious way to send mail short of encryption.

Also remember that all e-mail sent through normal channels can be intercepted. Therefore, only write what you want the world to see.

Email Etiquette

While a lot of people understand the importance of following certain rules when writing a business letter, they often forget these rules when composing an email message. Here’s a refresher.

–      Mind Your Manners : Think of the basic rules you learned growing up, like saying please and thank you.

–      Address people you don’t know as Mr., Mrs., or Dr. address someone by first name only if they imply it’s okay with them to do so.

–      Watch Your Tone : Merriam-Webster defines tone as an “accent or inflection expressive of a mood or emotion.” It is very difficult to express tone in writing, but make sure that you should come across as respectful, friendly, and approachable. You should not sound curt or demanding.

–      Be Concise : Get to the point of your email as quickly as possible, but don’t leave out important details that will help your recipient answer your query.

–      Be Professional : This means, stay away from abbreviations and don’t use emoticons (those little smiley faces). Don’t use a suggestive email address for business communications.

–      Use Correct Spelling and Proper Grammar : Use a dictionary or a spell checker whichever works better for you. While you can write in a conversational tone (contractions are okay), pay attention to basic rules of grammar.

–      Wait to Fill in the “TO” Email Address: Career Planning Site visitor Larry Batchelor says, “I never fill in the ‘TO’ email address until I am completely through proofing my email and I am sure that it is exactly the way that I want it. This will keep you from accidentally sending an email prematurely. In the past, I have accidentally clicked on the send icon, when I really meant to click on the attachment icon.”

Advantages and disadvantages of Email

Email has changed the way we do business. Sure, people complain about the amount of Email they receive. But when all is said and done, use of Email has made a positive impact on business and has an edge over other methods of communication.

Here are five advantages of using Email:

(i)    Managing Email is Easy : You can manage all your correspondence on screen and so can your customers. Your proposal can be answered, revised, stored, and sent to others, all without reams of paper involved.

(ii)   Email is Fast : Mail is delivered instantly from your office to anywhere in the world. No other method of delivery can provide this service. Timely buying and selling decisions can be made in one heartbeat.

(iii)   Email is Inexpensive : Compared to telephone calls, faxes, or over night courier service, Email is less expensive.

(iv)  Email is Easy to Filter : The subject line on an Email makes it easy to prioritize messages. The reader can identify critical correspondence quickly and deal with it immediately. Unlike regular mail which needs to be opened and reviewed, or voice mail which requires you to either listen to or scan all your messages for those that require immediate attention.

(iv)  Transmission is Secure and Reliable : The level of security in transmitting Email messages is very high, and the industry continues to strive to develop even tighter security levels. Email is private. Often telephone and fax messages are not. If the address information is correct, rarely does an Email go astray. Fax machines can be out of order or out of paper and this prevents an important message from being delivered in a timely manner.

Email has been credited for increased efficiency, business readiness, and a host of other advantages tied to increased productivity.

However, there are some disadvantages.

Disadvantage of using E-mail
•      Time Consuming

•      Security

•      Impersonal Communication

•      Misunderstanding

•      Vulnerability

•      Internet Connectivity

 

(i)    Time Consuming : Writing an email takes less time than it takes to print a letter and mail it off the ease with which an e-mail is send implies that an average person may do more correspondence electronically than he would if all correspondence was done by postal mail. Sometimes the message is better communicated over the telephone or directly. Organizing and reading through emails can also eat up a great deal of time and prove an obstacle in the way of a worker’s producitivity.

(ii)   Security : Sensitive information can be easily shared and distributed within a business through email. It does not matter if the email is sent accidentally or deliberately, the damage reamins the same. Moreover, when someone hands you a business letter, you are the only person who receives that letter. An e mail can be intercepted by a hacker or go on an incorrect email address and wind up in someone else’s inbox. Your sensitive information and messages are easily accessible to hackers and to even unsuspecting recipients.

(iii)   Impersonal Communication : While email can be faster, the meaning of the message is often lost in the text. It can make customers or employees forget there are people involved in the transaction, which can affect customer service. Since email recipients cannot see one another, the emails do not have any voice inflection or emotion that can help in proper interpretation.

(iv)  Misunderstanding : Pronouns and popular jargon can lead to conflicts in emails. In addition, email is filled with abbreviations and short descriptions, which can often be misunderstood and/or interpreted the wrong way.

(v)   Vulnerability : It would take a manual effort on the part of someone to access all his important printed documents and destroy them. But all of your emails and important information can be lost with a simple hard-drive crash. Even if you store your email information on another server, you could lose your data if that site goes down or gets out of business.

(vi)  Whether an organisation depends on internet connectivity: E-mail depends on the internet connectivity which can get disturbed or disconnected due to various reasons.

–      Email cannot be considered a confidential mode of communication.

–      Email should not be considered as a replacement for direct, face-to-face communication.

–      Email cannot be relied in case of emergency messages as the receiver may read it at his own convenient time.

–      Email depends on the internet connectivity which can get disturbed or disconnected due to various reasons.

Intranet

The word ‘intra’ means within or internal. It is like the internet, except that it contains information specific to the particular organization. External people, who are not on the network cannot access the intranet.

The intranet is the most effective of all the types of electronic communication.

A company intranet helps to keep employees atleast with various happenings within the company, and it can be used to communicate within the company by posting various newsletters, articles, and company training documents.

The intranet implies that only the company employees who are set up on the server can access the company pages. It is different from the Internet which is open to everyone who has an Internet connection.

Most companies use their intranet in place of paper and emails because it gives information to everyone within the company, regardless of their location. Thus, all employees in an organisation get to know about the carried happenings.

Intranets for companies are very secure in the sense that no one outside the company can access it once the security is set in place.

The benefits of an intranet are that it allows a central communication area for the entire company.

Many people work in remote locations; therefore, it helps them in having a sense of connectedness with the company as a whole, regardless of the place someone is located in.

Intranets have been quite effective in keeping communication open to all employees, but of at the same time, it is essential that they log into the intranet several times each day. Many companies make the intranet the default start-up page from any browser within the company, which makes it easier for employees to remember to log in for important information.

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