There’s a great deal of etiquette bound up in email communications – and it varies by culture and sometimes by country. Some people politely make the point of always addressing the recipient in an email, and in thanking them at the end, whereas others apparently look on it as a badge of honour to contain everything in a single terse line with no capitalization. Especially when it comes to OOF messages.
One of the cardinal sins of email management is in misusing the BCC function – you know, the ability to copy someone on an email without showing their name to everyone else. BCC can be very handy at letting one user or group know what is being said to another, without exposing the former’s email addresses or in fact making it explicit that they’re aware of what’s going on. Maybe duplicitous but handy at times.
Whatever you do, do not BCC large distribution lists. Some people think they’re doing a group a favour by replying-all to some thread and BCC’ing the group so it doesn’t get sent any of the subsequent replies… but what that often will do is circumvent any rules that members of that group have set up to fire all emails sent to it, into a folder. Now, post-BCC, everyone will probably receive your email in their Inbox, all the while wondering why.
What About meeting requests?
BCC is very handy when you’re emailing a group of people – maybe sending an external mail to a bunch of customers and you don’t want to inadvertently share everyone’s address with each other.
Funnily enough, one scenario where BCC would be most useful is when you want to invite lots of people to a meeting – an event, a party, etc – and there are plenty reasons why it might be best that they don’t know who else is being invited. Yet, there is no BCC option on meeting requests… it’s just not there.
But feat not, intrepid readers – it is possible to effectively BCC people on a meeting request, by inviting them as Resources. There are basically 2 ways that most of us will add names to a meeting request – either create it as a meeting in the first place, or create an appointment, then…
· …either type their names into the shown-by-default “To” box, or choose Scheduling Assistant to add people by just entering their names in the list, to invite them.
· … or add names to your request by clicking on Invite Attendees (which actually turns an appointment into a meeting, as meetings are appointments where other people are invited – ya falla’?), then click on the To button (or Add Attendees button).
This brings up a dialog box that will expect you to select people from the address list, and select them as Required or Optional attendees (does anyone ever use Optional?). Or, in fact, Resources – the thinking being that the address book could have entries for resources like meeting rooms or even bookable equipment, that you could invite to your meeting thereby claiming it for your exclusive use.
Now, if you’d like to invite people to a meeting and have the request be sent out to them but not show their address to anyone else, just stick them in as Resources – either by selecting them from the address book or just typing/pasting their name or email address in the box (so it works for external recipients too).
They get a meeting request as normal, they show up in the meeting organiser’s list of attendees, responses get tracked etc – but when any of the attendees looks at a meeting in their own calendar, they won’t see the names of anyone in Resources. Clever, eh?