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Tips for getting the most from E-mail

by Yvonne Hilder

The E-mail I receive from journalists seeking assistance with their research and from organizations listed with   Sources is often puzzling. Many messages are unaddressed, unsigned and written in haste. Some queries require detective work before I can send a proper response. E-mail deserves as much attention as other means of communication. Consider the following tips:

Check your E-mail daily. If your E-mail address is included in your Sources listing it may be used by journalists (especially night owls or those in other time zones). If someone has posted a message in the middle of the night he or she is probably hoping for a reply early the next day.

If you include your E-mail address on your business card, letterhead or in your Sources listing and you don’t have the time to check your E-mail consider removing it or replacing it with one main business E-mail address

Respond to inquiries from journalists and researchers immediately and consider quoting parts of the original message. Quoting the original message is like repeating the question in an interview. It will help clarify your answer.

Include your full name, name of your organization, regular mailing address, phone number and fax number, and E-mail address on all E-mail messages. A journalist who receives an E-mail message and is unable to figure out who sent it will may use a quote from another organization which has included full contact information.

Submit your E-mail messages to the same scrutiny you do your business letters. Remember that E-mail messages reflect your organization.

Finally, E-mail is on the record.

For more tips on electronic communications savvy, check out Hot Link’s interview with security expert Bert Cowan.