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Fax Machines

Faxes are a critical part of business today, but they should not be invasive. Here are some ideas to remember.

  • Fax machines are not in our offices to excuse us from sending letters or making phone calls. Fax machines are best used when time is of the essence.

  • Fax machines should not be used for sending advertisements or solicitations. People become annoyed—rightfully so—by unwelcome transmissions.

  • If you need to get a message to several people, don’t depend on the receiving party to make copies for you. Send a separate fax to each person who needs it. If your message is urgent, mark it “urgent” and call ahead to ask the receiver to be on the lookout. A reminder to receivers: if the fax is marked urgent, deliver it to its intended party as quickly as possible. A reminder to senders: be courteous; don’t mark it as urgent if it’s not.

  • It is proper etiquette for the sender to make sure the fax is received. If you send a fax and don’t get a response within the time you think it should take, call the other person and make sure it was received.

  • It’s a nice idea to send the orginal copy of your message as a backup, although most courts have found faxed documents to be legal and binding.

  • If you don’t have a plain-paper fax and your office gets long faxes, you can tightly roll the fax the opposite way and secure it with a rubber band or paper clip to straighten it out. That way, when you or someone else opens it, the pages lie flat and can be easily read. If you really want to go the extra mile, unroll the fax after an hour or so, cut the pages, and put them in sequence so you or the intended receiver gets a stack of papers instead of a roll.

  • When sending a fax, remember that pencil marks and light inks do not transmit well. Neither do small fonts. Increase your font size to at least 12 points. Many graphics also will not reproduce well, and they take longer to send and receive.

  • Cover sheets waste transmission time and paper. There are transmittal notices that stick right on your document (if you’re using a hard copy), or you can design your own. If you fax directly from your computer, you can design a simple heading and begin your document a few lines under it.

  • Leave your fax machine on when you close your office for the evening. Overseas transmissions come in the middle of the night and on weekends. Check your paper supply each night, too.



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