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Sidestep these 5 temptations of e-mail

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in Microsoft Email Outlook,Office Technology

You've probably noticed how email can bring out the worst in people. Don't let it tempt you to misuse it.

Steer clear of these:

1. The temptation to send. That means avoid forwarding messages that begin with comments such as, "Please send to 10 friends." Even if it is to draw attention to a worthy cause, most people who receive these messages don't appreciate the interruption.

Bottom line: When in doubt, don't reroute.

2. The temptation to respond. Sometimes, people feel the need to fill a communication void by sending a "thank you" to acknowledge receiving a message. The trouble is, it tends to clutter everyone's inboxes.

Tip: When requesting something by email, end with "Thank you in advance." If you must send an appreciative reply, type "Thank you" in the subject line.

3. The temptation to react. Some email is composed in such a brusque manner that we react emotionally first, fire off an incendiary reply, and then regret it later. We hit "Send" and feel triumphant for a few minutes ... before realizing that we then have to conduct face-to-face damage control.

Bottom line: Wait at least an hour before responding to a message that gets your dander up.

4. The temptation to hide behind email. Have you ever received an apology or reprimand by a manager and felt that it should have been delivered in person? If so, you know about this misuse of email, which tends to strike when people don't feel confident of their communication skills.

Bottom line: Always deliver apologies in person.

5. The temptation to send bulky attachments. How do you know when a file or group of graphics/photos are too big for the recipient's inbox? You don't.

Solution: Exercise "attachments management": Send executive summaries when possible, warn recipients in advance of a file's size, extract and send only the needed information, or give recipients the option of receiving the document in another way such as a hyperlink or even an old-fashioned print copy.

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