22 May 2017
E-mail now without regretting it later
You send e-mails all day long, both at work and at home. You are undoubtedly aware that you always need to be careful when opening e-mails from an unknown sender, especially if it contains a link or there is an attachment. That way, you can reduce the risk of viruses. But the risks to your confidential information when sending e-mail are less obvious. So make sure you bear this aspect in mind! These tips are a good start.
- Always double-check that you are actually mailing the right person.
- Check who you want to reply to, and who you don't.
- Do you have an urgent or sensitive problem? Then pick up the phone.
Tip 1: Always check whether your e-mail program fills in the correct e-mail address.
You need to provide all sorts of information about your company to your bookkeeper, John Smith. Most e-mail programs store the addresses of contacts that you have mailed previously, and fill in the e-mail address field automatically. Very useful! But what if by coincidence you know two people called John Smith, and you have ended up sending a load of sensitive information to the wrong Mr. Smith?
Tip 2: Think about who you want to reply to.
Only the sender of the mail or the people who were in Cc?
Confusion all round! 'To' is intended for main addressees. Cc and Bcc are for people who also need to be kept informed. But unlike Cc (carbon copy), the details of recipients of a Bcc (blind carbon copy) remain concealed - which is ideal for more sensitive matters. If you yourself received a Bcc, then maybe it is advisable only to reply to the sender.
Tip 3: Be particularly careful with distribution lists.
You are familiar with the distribution lists in e-mail programs that group various contacts under a single e-mail address. That can be very useful, but it is not always without risk. What about if, without thinking, you click Reply to All and your personal e-mail lands in the mailbox of hundreds of people?
Tip 4: Don't send an e-mail when you are upset.
Emotions are often accompanied by impulsiveness ... followed by regret. There is nothing wrong with writing down your feelings, but sending them is not always necessary. Collect your thoughts, write them down, calm down for a while, and start afresh. Of even better, pick up the phone or talk to the person face-to-face. That way, you can put your feelings more in context.
Tip 5: Do you have to convey a confidential message? Then pick up the phone!
Sending an e-mail is like sending a postcard. Everyone who gets to see the e-mail can read it and share the content. Not to mention piracy. You should also be aware that your employer has the right to keep an eye on your work-related e-mail. And that in some countries, e-mails can be used as evidence in legal actions.