Email Etiquette Rule #5

Email remains a vital business tool. And, for many reasons, it is one we love to hate. If we all follow a few etiquette rules, email can become much more useful and much less painful.

Here is Email Etiquette Rule #5:

Cautiously Copy.

CCs are a pain. We receive tons of them and they often aren’t that important. Chances are that if we filter out the emails we are cc’d on, we will have significantly less email to handle without much negative impact.

So let’s give our readers a break and limit the number of CC’d email we send. Here are a few guidelines:

  • If you need someone to do something with (act on or respond to) your email, include them in the TO: not the CC:.
  • If you don’t need someone to do something with your email but simply want them to be aware, don’t include them on the original email at all. Instead, forward the email you sent with a brief explanation of why you think they need to read/watch/hear this information.  Yes, CCing is easier, but this approach is more likely to work.
  • If you are sending a CC to get someone in trouble or keep yourself out of trouble, rethink. Do you really need to throw someone under the bus? Instead of CCing to cover yourself, is there a conversation you can have with the person you wish to inform? Or is there a direct email you can send?
  • There is one very good use of a CC: CC someone when praising them to their boss.
  • Use BCCs with as much or more caution.


Think of CC as meaning Cautiously Copy.


In your corner,


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