In todays modern world, business and personal communication is practically instantaneous. With cell phones calls, texting, and email we can be in constant touch and relay vital information in seconds. If you dont already have an email account, its time to get one. Continue reading to find all the information you need to get started with an email account; use proper etiquette while emailing; and learn methods of keeping safe.
Finding and Selecting Service Providers. First you need to find and select an email provider. These providers come in two categories:
Business Providers. The most common email provider for businesses is Microsoft's Outlook. Like many email providers, it comes with a calendar and can be set up to send emails to your phone. Most computers come with Outlook installed. Other business email hosts are:
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Each of this email host providers have different terms and conditions as well as cost. If you belong to a large corporation, you will not have choice of providers, but as a small business owner, it's important to check out the advantages and disadvantages of each provider.
Personal Providers. Whether or not your have email provided at work, it's important to have a personal email account. You can get a personal account from a variety of host providers. Most of them provide a limited amount of email for free, with an option to pay for larger storage. Some people get their email account through their internet service provider, such as Charter or Comcast. Other commonly used service providers include hotmail, yahoo, and google. As with any contractual relationship, be sure to read the terms and conditions before signing up for a email service provider.
Choosing an Address and Password. Your business email account will usually be provided to you by your company. Your email address will usually consist of your first initial and last name, though this practice varies from company to company. If you will be using an email account for business purposes, be sure not to have an inappropriate or potentially embarrassing address. For business, your first initial and last name is best. If this is already taken, add your favorite number--do not make it your phone or social security number.
On your personal email account it is a common practice to people to include their first name and the year of their birth. This is a mistake as it reveals your age and gender, but we'll talk about safety issues later. Try to keep your address short so it can easily be remembered by family and friends.
Passwords should be changed frequently. They should include a combination of letters and numbers. This will prevent people from easily guessing your password. Avoid using your address, birthday, or the names of your children, as this will be the first thing people trying to access your account will try.
Managing your Email. Once you've opened an email account, it's important to check it regularly. Be sure to delete email that you do not need to save. Email that you may need later can be saved into folders. For example, if you have a client named Tucker Graphics, make a folder in your inbox and put important emails in the folder so that you can refer to them at a later date. Some email providers delete email when it gets to be older than 90 days. Having a place to save important emails will keep them from being accidentally deleted. Be sure to periodically check your junk mail folder as it may contain an email message from a client or friend whom you haven't added to your contact list.
Business and Personal Etiquette. Whether you are writing an email to a friend, a client, a coworker, or boss be sure to consider proper etiquette. Begin each email with a proper greeting, include the body of your email and close with your name or electronic signature. Spell check your email before sending it. Misspelled words give the reader a poor impression of you. Email should never be typed in all caps. This is considered to be shouting and is difficult to read. Save the jokes and forwarded messages for your personal email account, business email should be used for business purposes only. Many people have been fired for improper email use. Don't let it happen to you.
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Attachments and Links. When attaching files, be sure that the person to whom you are sending the file has the program to view it. For example, video files can be .mV4, .mov, or .mp4. Each type of file needs a certain program to open it. Be sure when attaching files to let the receiver know which program will work best with that file format. Whether in a business or personal email, be sure to consider how the recipient might feel about the type of material you are sending. You wouldn't want to offend someone. When sending a link to a website be sure to check that it works correctly. Providing a link to an inappropriate site should be avoided.
Privacy. Especially in a situation where you are using your business email, do not consider email to be private. Businesses have their IT personnel check incoming and outgoing email to be sure employees are not misusing the system. Even with your person email, consider that the Patriot Act allows our government to monitor electronic communications to help protect against terrorist actions. Also, hackers can break into systems and steal your contacts, sending them email that looks like it's coming from you. To protect yourself against hackers, be sure to change your password regularly and avoid putting confidential information such as social security numbers and bank numbers in emails.
Junk Mail. To avoid getting advertisements for penis enlargements or dating services, be sure not to enter your email address into just any website. Consider that many websites sell email addresses to other companies. This information gets into the hands of people attempting to make money by sending you junk mail advertisements. Look at the bottom of unwanted junkmail and look for a link that allows you to unsubscribe. This should eliminate that company from sending you email again.
Opening Attachments. Many times viruses are spread around the world via email. By opening an attachment to an email from an unknown sender, you are potentially infecting your computer with a virus. Delete email from unknown senders to avoid this problem.
Scams. If you receive an email asking you to help someone who is having a problem obtaining funds from an overseas account, beware! This is a scam! It is an attempt to prey upon a person'a greed, by suggesting that the receiver will get a large amount of money for helping them. Even if an email seems to be coming from a legitimate source, it may be from someone trying to get your personal information. Never give your
personal information out over email. Check with the company to see if the email is legitimate. Often times scam artists will make emails that look like they are coming from ebay or your bank. They ask you to confirm you password and they use that information to steal money from your account.
Having an email address is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends and is invaluable in business. You know have the information to prepare you to create a new account, use proper etiquette when emailing, and to keep your email experience safe. Good luck!