3 reasons to start Bcc-ing

A Little-Known Aid for Writing Professional and Polite E-mails

By Roger DeReu

When you send an e-mail, you have three choices in the way you list your recipients: via the “To” field, the “Carbon Copy” (Cc) field, and the “Blind Carbon Copy” (Bcc) field.

You probably use the “To” and “Cc” fields most often – but neither is your best option.

I suggest that you use “Cc” when you want to make your main recipient aware that you’re sending the information to someone else. That you rarely, if ever, use multiple “To” entries. And that you use “Bcc” to send everything else.

“Bcc” is a replacement for “Cc” and multiple “To” entries. It’s different, because it prevents recipients from seeing each other’s addresses.

Why should you be gung-ho about “Bcc”?

  • It keeps people’s e-mail addresses private.
    Whether for privacy’s sake or as a means to reduce spam, some people don’t want strangers to know their e-mail addresses. A banker I know put multiple high-profile addresses in the “To” field of an e-mail, and many of the recipients asked that he be terminated because of it!
  • It protects people’s privacy.
    You may not want your favorite cousin to know that you still send your yearly holiday update to her ex-husband. Or your colleague may not want his employee to know that they’re both on your wine-lovers e-list. Using “Bcc” keeps everyone anonymous, which can protect business and personal relationships.
  • It increases readability.
    Listing 30 e-mail addresses in the “To” or “Cc” field looks unprofessional and takes more space on the screen. That makes it harder for recipients to find your actual message. Worse, it can make people feel that the e-mail is unimportant and not worth reading.So start using “Bcc” when you send e-mails to multiple people. It’s polite, professional, and makes you look good. It could even save your job!
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