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What should be included in the To line of a business e-mail?

Addressing The Business E-Mail

Tim Burress (E-mail Etiquette and Organization Specialist) gives expert video advice on: What should be included in the BCC line of a business e-mail?; How is writing an e-mail to my boss different than writing to anyone else? and more...

What should be included in the To line of a business e-mail?

What you should include in the "To" line of a business e-mail is the people that need to act, and those that have some action to do. So if you're thinking about the people that you want to add to the "To" line of a business e-mail, those should be the action takers, the people who are required to do what you're asking them in the business e-mail.

What should be included in the CC line of a business e-mail?

The "CC" line of a business e-mail should include people who are stakeholders in the e-mail. They don't need to respond, but they just need to be aware and be knowledgeable of what you've asked them within the business e-mail.

What should be included in the BCC line of a business e-mail?

The "BCC" line of a business e-mail is also known as the blind carbon-copy. In a business e-mail, when I address the e-mail to a particular person, and I blind carbon-copy it to perhaps their manager, I'm covering my bases. I am documenting that I've asked somebody to do something by blind carbon-copying their manager, and that is how you should use a "BCC" line in a business e-mail.

What are the dangers of misusing the BCC line of a business e-mail?

One of the major dangers by misusing the "BCC" or blind carbon copy line in a business e-mail is that if I send an email out to six people, and blind carbon copy someone, then if someone on the "To" line hits the "reply to all" button, there is a chance with some companies that the "reply to all" will go to the "BCC" person. The two people don't know that anyone's been blind carbon copied because it's a blind carbon copy, so that can really cause some challenges depending on what that person may type within the business e-mail.

How is writing an e-mail to my boss different than writing to anyone else?

Writing a business e-mail to your boss is different to writing to anyone else in your company as if the person is a senior executive at a company, or someone above you in the company, perhaps it needs to be written in a way that shows that sort of respect, showing that you are aware that the person is of a senior level. So you may not be as directive as you might be with someone who's on your team, who's working for you, or underneath you within an organization in your business e-mail. So keep in mind that who the business e-mail is addressed to has a lot to do with how you write a message. But you should basically keep to that same business e-mail structure of making sure the main point, the action, is up front, followed by the background, and then the close. All this is still important within the structure of the email to your boss, but it is largely with the greeting that you signal that you are greeting a senior person, or a subordinate.

What is the best approach to writing a business e-mail to someone I don't know?

In writing a business e-mail to someone you don't know, to avoid being sent into the junk box on your initial e-mail where you're soliciting something in an e-mail, certainly get right to the point. I think it's important because people are buried in email, so get to the point up front. Let them know why you're sending this e-mail, the purpose of this email with the action up front. Tell them what you need them to do, why you are sending them this email, and then tell them why, perhaps in the background text, with a nice warm cordial closure to the business e-mail. Be brief when sending a business e-mail to someone you don't know as people are buried in email and they don't want a long solicitation.