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Mail Me Not

E-mail's good, but to hash out a deal, you need to get personal.

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This story appears in the December 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's hard not to be infatuated with e-mail. It's fast, it's cheap-and today, it's as common as triple lattes and body piercings. The sophisticated deal-maker, however, should not be so easily impressed. Like snail mail, phone calls and faxes, e-mail is just another way to communicate, and it has its own strengths and weaknesses, especially when used in negotiations.

In the asset column, e-mail is swift and convenient. It's great for getting answers to simple questions, arranging meetings and circulating information. When there's a need to build a consensus, you can reach lots of people quickly-and in many cases, it affords easy access to all levels of an organization. Because it's written, e-mail gives you time to reflect before responding. All that is very, very good.

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