Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Email Time Reduction Tip#4

This is another installment in our series about saving time with e-mail. In this issue, we'll briefly discuss the bcc: field.

bcc: over-use. Some people bcc: "everyone" on an e-mail. The thinking is they don't want to leave out someone who might possibly want to be included in the distribution if the stars align just right or Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes declares them a winner.

The results of such an approach include:

  • A whole bunch of folks get an e-mail that doesn't apply to them.
  • You make yourself "fair game" to being copied on e-mails you have little or no interest in.
  • You expand the number of people who will reply to you with questions or comments.
  • Your e-mail address gains that much more exposure to being hijacked.
  • You may annoy people to the point that they just delete or block all of your e-mails.
  • You look unprofessional and undiscerning.

So, don't over-use the bcc: field. Copy only to people to whom that e-mail really applies.

Failing to use bcc: On the flipside of over-use, you have under-use. Failing to copy a person whose input is critical is a huge mistake. But why not just cc: all of the people who should get that e-mail? Well, that's OK if they have all given you permission to share their e-mail addresses with everyone else on the list (or you want everyone to have the ability to reply to everyone else on the list, thereby generating a blizzard of e-mails). But until you have such permission, use the bcc: field to protect people's privacy. You save time by not needing to reply to angry e-mails from the offended parties.

When to use bcc:

  • The message applies to everyone on the list ("the list" being the address of the recipients in the bcc: field).
  • Not everyone on the list has given permission for everyone else on the list to have their e-mail address.
  • You don't want any person on the list to respond to the entire list.

Sending e-mail properly--whether Reply All, cc:, or bcc:--simply requires a little planning and consideration. By reducing confusion and heading off potentially huge problems, it can save you--and everyone else--quite a bit of time.


Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.