Email is probably the most frequently used way of communicating in many businesses today. But remember that email is the distribution method rather than the type of communication. Business conventions still need to be observed, such as not using slang, shorthand and emoticons.
The advice given for each type of document in this module still applies even if it is distributed by email. There are some additional issues to consider such as formatting, and font.
Emails can be forwarded easily, and so you need to consider some protection if there is an issue of confidentiality of content.
You may not want all recipients to be able to see each other’s email addresses
It is not usual to securely sign emails.
There is the chance the content can easily be altered electronically.
You can have a digital signature and add it to documents that are emailed. A key consideration is that access to the digital signature is guarded carefully. In some instances this can be accepted in the same way as a signed document.
What is a Digital signature?
This is the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature, seal or stamp, which may be required to render a document or agreement legally binding. A digital code is used, generated and authenticated by public key encryption. Thus can be applied on a document that is transmitted electronically. This serves to authenticate the document contents and authenticates the identity of the sender. In the USA and some other countries the same legal significance is attached to digitally signed documents as to traditionally signed documents
A Digital signatures may also be referred to as a Digital ID, or e-signature. Microsoft and Adobe and others have solutions that offer digital signatures.
To find an appropriate one for you, Google or search the internet, using the search terms Digital signature, Digital ID, and e-signature.
The appropriate method of adding recipients to your emails
When composing an email, you can choose to add recipients in several ways. Choose to either place them in the “To” field, or alternatively select “CC “or “BCC”.
Let me explain the significance of selecting each option.
Names added in the “to “field are visible to everyone, together with their email address.
This is also true of names added in the “CC” field (curtesy copy). You would select this option, rather than the “To” option if this person isn’t directly affected by the email, and so are not expected to do anything. You are informing them of the email and its contents out of courtesy. Perhaps the contents concern one of their staff and you want them to be aware that, for example, they are invited to a conference, are asked to work on a project, or have to attend a meeting. So this is an efficient method of making sure someone indirectly affected is kept informed, but are aware it is for their information only and they do not need to do anything.
In contrast, those who receive a “BCC “(blind curtesy copy) are not seen by everyone. You might use this option to deliver an email to a lot of recipients who don’t know each other, if you don’t want to give everyone’s email address to each other. Perhaps you are emailing a database of prospective clients and you want their email addresses to be private. Or you could be mailing a list of applicants for a position, and want to protect their identities.
How to protect your document
If you have a document that you want to make sure cannot be altered, you can consider restricting or protecting it and make sure only you can alter the document.
It can be protected in Word
OR you can make it a PDF attachment to the email
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format frequently used to share important business documents.