Using the email address fields right – To; CC; BCC – emailing 101.

Using the email address fields right – To; CC; BCC – emailing 101.

This sounds so basic, but, I can’t remember how many questions I have been asked or how many emails I have seen where it’s clear the sender does not quite get the basics of the address fields of their email client.

More often than not the things in front of you are the most ignored. When the dotcom frenzy hit, everyone jumped to the bandwagon and got an email address, probably the way everyone seems to have jumped on Facebook but lack the basic manners of how to relate in the new community.

Probably like me, you have received emails with hundreds of email addresses on the TO and CC fields, right? Well today let us learn a few basics of how to use these fields right. For the purpose of this article let’s look at a small organization with a Manager, Supervisor, and 3 sales agents.

  1. The TO – Field, this we all know and have seen, this field is intended for the main recipient of the communication. For instance sales agents send weekly reports of their sales week to the supervisor; the supervisor is the main recipient of the communication – their email address goes to this field.
  2. The CC – field. CC is short for Carbon Copy – many of this millennia folks probably have not seen the physical carbon copy paper, but, if you remember there were days before we got carbonated paper (used especially on receipts, or documentation with a duplicate needed), a sheet of flimsy paper was put in between two papers – the sheet is called carbon paper. This field ideally is intended for recipients who need to be in the loop of the conversation. When a monthly report is made, the supervisor may copy the sales agents the email to the Manager – so it is in this field that you add the addresses of the sales agents. The recipients in this field may not need to respond, but just need to be in the know of the conversation.
  3. The BCC field – this field is one that many of us have no idea about. Short for Blind Carbon Copy, ideally the same as CC,  unlike the addresses in the To and CC fields, the addresses in this field will not be displayed in the recipients emails. The identities of those you insert in this field will be concealed from other recipients of your email. This field is used when you want someone else to get to know the conversation but you do not want other recipients to know that they have received the email. Sales agent 3 could typically use this when communicating with the Supervisor and blind copy the email to the manager – typically over sensitive information that your supervisor would not have otherwise okayed you to escalate.

Well now you know what to do, don’t add 100 email addresses again  to the TO or CC fields of your email. And oh, please, don’t forget to use the subject and message fields right. There are individuals who have a tendency of sending a blank emails especially if they are sending an attachment, if you are so lazy to tell your recipient more about the attachment or you have had this long trail of back and forth emailing, then learn a few email short hands; FYI -For Your Information, FYA – For Your Attention.