Proper Email Technique

emailI know this might sound kind of dumb or even come off as condescending, but I feel I need to drop a little knowledge on proper email technique when it comes to ‘To’, ‘CC’, and ‘BCC’. I find that these are rarely used properly and thought I might try to do my part to change that.

Obviously, the simplest email is 1:1. Jon emails Bill. Bill’s name goes in the ‘To’ field. Done.

I think were it gets a bit confusing is when there’re multiple recipients and how those recipients relate to the message. So, for example, if I want to say something to Bill, Susan, and Claire, I would put all of their names in the ‘To’ field. I would also address the email to all of them, e.g, “Dear Bill, Susan and Claire” or “Hi all”.  I would not put one name in the ‘To’ field and the other’s in the ‘CC’ field while speaking to all of them.

If I want to say something to Bill, but I want to make Susan and Claire aware of what I’m telling him, then I’d put Bill’s name in the ‘To’ field and Susan and Claire in the ‘CC’ field. The message would be addressed only to Bill. In this instance, I’m not speaking to Susan and Claire, just letting them listen in on the conversation with Bill’s knowledge.

If I want to say something to Bill and let Claire and Susan listen in on the conversation without Bill’s knowledge, then I’d put Bill in the ‘To’ field and Susan and Claire in the ‘BCC’ field. This would let them see the email I send to Bill, but without him knowing.

And in case you’re wondering, and not old like me, CC stands for Carbon Copy, which is how things used to be duplicated back in the day. There would literally be a sheet of carbon in between two pieces of paper and when you wrote on the top sheet, it would make a ‘carbon copy’ on the bottom sheet. Some written forms still use this method, but it’s rare. BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy, with the blind referring to the recipient’s lack of knowledge about the other people seeing the copy.

I hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.