When and How to Blind Carbon Copy

written by Mikaela L. Cowles on January 14, 2013 in E-Mail Etiquette 101 with no comments

Blind-Carbon-CopiesBlind Carbon Copies (BCC) can be an extremely useful tool. However, at times they can get both the sender and recipient in trouble. Before you use BCC, consider what you are trying to accomplish.

What is a BCC? A BCC is a secretly distributed copy of an e-mail. The regular recipient of the e-mail is unaware of the person you have BCC’d.

When should you use a BCC? There are two common reasons to BCC someone. One is when you are sending an e-mail to a large group of people whose contact information you don’t want to publically share. Instead of drafting an e-mail to each individual, you can BCC each person and send the e-mail to yourself.

The second reason is to create an additional record by BCCing yourself.

When should you not use a BCC? It has been known to happen that a BCC is used to tattle on a colleague. This is a huge no-no. DO NOT BCC the boss to tell on someone and expose their mistakes. Address the individual one-on-one and face-to-face. If no resolution can be reached, then talk to the boss. Don’t use a random e-mail to solve the problem.

If you are BCC’d, when should you reply? Never. It is too easy to hit “reply all” to a BCC. If you do this, you have now thrown the sender under the bus.  Should you need to respond to the recipient, draft a new e-mail.

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