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March 29, 2007


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Hi Lynn,

What is a good way to bring up proper use of bcc in business email with a colleague who has been overusing/misusing it?

I work with a staffer trying to establish themselves and mentored them in interactions with our primary client early on. Lately, I've been bcc'd (increasingly more bcc than cc)on a number of emails where the reply was presented on behalf of our office. I think the recipient should know/be introduced to everyone bcc'd that is represented or a stakeholder in the replies (since the reply speaks on our team/office's behalf). I feel the bcc is being misused in this case, either unintentionally or perhaps intentionally (I've been verbal asked for input on more than one of these emails that was later represented as the sender's personal perspective during a group discussion). What is the right way to raise this and request that I be cc'd (or not copied at all) rather than bcc in the future?

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Victor. You wrote to me with a very rational discussion of your concern. I recommend that you bring up the issue in the same rational way with the staffer. Share your concerns and your reasons for having them.

Many things about email benefit from discussion. It may be that your colleague hasn't thought about the implciations of his or her choices.

Regarding the person's presenting your thinking as his or her own, I believe you can also raise that issue, perhaps like this: "You asked my opinion on the situation. When you wrote to the client, it came across as your opinion, and that felt weird to me." It may be that your colleague thinks it serves the client best to receive the information the way he or she is communicating it. If you discuss this with him or her, you will find out.

Good luck!


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