Email: Friend or foe (make it a friend)

How did we ever survive without email? How can we survive with so much!? Here are some tips on managing your in-box…

So the other day a guest signed up for a Churchill Club event called “How to build a Killer Board”, which was a lunch time panel session we ran on getting your board of directors right.


Now when he signed up, he gave his address as “” (obviously I just made up the “” bit). I was thinking he got it wrong by accidentally cutting and pasting the wrong bits, so I gave him a quick call.

“Not so,” says my patron. “I normally create an email alias for all the things I subscribe to as it saves me heartache downstream.”


At first I thought “that’s dumb” but then as my brain ticked over some more, I realized it was a great idea. In fact so much so that I thought I should flesh it out and talk about it as there are some good lessons here, which can make your life easier (read “your in-box smaller”).


But first you need to be in control of your email addresses. Not such a big ask though, as most hosting companies have a control panel such as cPanel that allows you to manage your website hosting, databases and email. If they don’t, seriously consider dumping your provider, as in my experience, the guys with the worst service are usually the most expensive.


Anyway, back to what you should do with email addresses:


1. Create an email address with your name. For example,, so you can get all email sent to you. Yes, I know this is obvious, but for completeness reasons I felt compelled to include it.


2. Create an email address with your title, and have that address forward its email to you – You can then use this email address to register at websites that may generate inquiries for your business (like a government register of suppliers). This means that if you appoint someone new to the job, you just have to redirect emails from this address to the new person – now forwards its email to Saves having to run around lots of websites trying to update your details every time staff changes.


3. Create any generic email addresses you want such as, and You can stick these on paperwork and your website. It helps your organisation look bigger even if you don’t actually have staff doing those jobs.


4. Create an email address specifically for a news-feed, subscription or any other website you register at, that then has its email forwarded to you – The reason you would do this is so that you control your subscription, not the other party.


For instance I have decided on occasion to cancel a subscription to a news-feed, only to find that I can’t unless I remember my password, and they won’t help me figure it out. If I have setup an email address for that specific news-feed, I could then cancel the address, causing all their emails to then bounce, without my life being affected.


Maybe I’m a control freak, but point four appeals to me a lot. Especially when having to regularly deal with IT help desks that seem to serve no other purpose than giving a job to poor unfortunate souls that would otherwise be unemployable.


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