Part 1 of our email etiquette series covered the standard format of a business email. In part 2, we will discuss the proper times to use additional options such as CC, BCC, Reply All, Return Receipt, and Attachments.
The use of CC and BCC need to be well thought out - confirm they are appropriate and are not to be used as a retaliation tactic. Only copy or blind copy where these have been requested, or where the other contacts have been included on the email correspondence and need to be updated on the topic.
Reply All needs to be used sparingly. Should an email be for information only, it is not necessary to reply to all. Also, when the conversation is between one contact and yourself, the Reply All becomes inappropriate.
The best advice for Return Receipt is to avoid using whenever possible. These messages often frustrate the reader and can become time consuming for the recipient if you are constantly sending using Return Receipts.
When sending attachments, confirm with the contact the size of file their system will accept. It may be necessary to zip or compress a file prior to sending. Also, use PDF format where possible since not all contacts will use the same tools to read documents — everyone can read a PDF. Finally, let the contact know the file is being sent so they can expect it and check any spam filters should their email be setup to put all attachments into junk or spam filters.
For more information on professional email communication, read Part 3 in the series, Caps Lock, Bold and Other Email Dont’s.