Small Business Diva

August 20, 2008

Email Etiquette

Filed under: Communication,Office Organisation,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 4:34 pm
Tags: ,

I’m writing today about a topic that has been annoying me for a while now… a topic that has recently been discussed at length on a business forum I’m a member of and more recently in the latest Women’s Network Australia e-Noticeboard. I figured that while there’s a bit of talk about it, it’s a good time to bring it up here and (hopefully) we can start sending a clear message to the guilty parties. I must admit, some of my dearest friends are guilty so if you do this too, please don’t take it personally.

The problem… people who forward emails without using the BCC: field and those who forward emails without removing previous recipients’ / senders’ addresses from the message. These are particularly the case with those, “Forward to at least 100, 000 people within the next 10 minutes or your wish won’t come true” type of messages but are seen in general business emails too.

There are three main problems with this:

1. If my name is one of those on the email – whether as sender or recipient – it then gets forwarded all over the place. Some people are very protective of their privacy and would rather that their details not be distributed willy-nilly. Okay, perhaps you trust all the people you are forwarding the message to, but what about the people they send it to… or the people they send it to… or… and so on?

2. Others are concerned that their address will eventually end up in the hands of spammers, thus opening them to being bombarded with even more spam emails.

3. It just looks messy! I really dislike having to scroll down through countless ‘to’ and ‘from’ lists, complete with various, “Thought you’d like this. OMG ROFLMAO!!! See you Saturday. Love Sue,” type messages just to find a useful bit of info in the bottom two lines.

Although this annoys me, it doesn’t upset me and I certainly don’t waste time worrying about it – and I still love my friends who do this – but I’d really like it if we could collectively start spreading the message.

If you are guilty of this, please:

1. When sending messages to numerous people and it’s not necessary for them to know who else you’re sending it to, use the BCC: field (it’s below To: and CC) and stands for Blind Carbon Copy. It means that each person in that address field will receive the message but they won’t see the names of others it was sent to.

2. When forwarding a message, please delete any irrelevant information from the email before you press ‘send’ (eg previous names, addresses, messages and signature blocks).

Another suggestion is that we all start to include a message in our emails along the lines of, “Thanks for deleting my email address and the FWD in the subject line before forwarding these to your friends and family.  Hardly any spam now.”

Okay… I’ll get off my soap box now.

Here’s to your success in business,




  1. I agree 110% Donna-Marie. Sending business emails with huge lists of names does not look professional and can create bad blood when (not if) a virus gets transmitted because of it. Protect your professional reputation and BCC by default.

    Comment by Ingrid — August 20, 2008 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

  2. […] Diva has addressed one email issue and I have to say I agree wholeheartedly.  Read her post – Email Etiquette – and spread the word… […]

    Pingback by Bcc Bliss « Organised Thoughts — August 22, 2008 @ 10:17 am | Reply

  3. I completely agree with you. It annoys me too.

    Comment by Melissa — August 30, 2008 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

  4. Oh, that is one thing that really annoys me too. There is nothing worse than receiving an email where you have to scroll most of the way down the page to get past the list of previous recipients’ names, before you can read the message. I always delete these and use the BCC before forwarding on emails.

    Comment by Jenni — September 3, 2008 @ 9:30 am | Reply

  5. Well said Donna Marie.
    You want your friends to still send you the news or the funny! But you don’t like all those extra addresses and everything else. Snap!
    It only takes about 20 secs to fix it before you forward!

    Comment by Chris Owen — September 8, 2008 @ 11:11 am | Reply

  6. […] through Small Business Diva, I came across a post about email etiquette. In this post, Donna Marie talks about people who forward emails and leaving huge long lists of […]

    Pingback by Business Mums Magazine » Blog Archive » Email Etiquette - Love your BCC Field — September 16, 2008 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

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