Moving to BCC – Great email trick (or habit!)

Emails are a plague for so many people, it’s a wonder that not more attention is spent on improving email practices.  We’d all benefit from a better email hygiene.  One rather underused (and/or misused) tool is the BCC.    I thought I’d share a little manoeuvre that I have seen practiced by a few people, and that I really like, called the “moving to BCC.”

Moving so and so to BCC

Moving to BCC, The Myndset Digital MarketingMoving to BCC:  There is something absolutely charming in its transparency and efficiency.  The most obvious case for using this manoeuvre is when someone, who has put two people in touch with one another, no longer needs to be part of the ongoing conversation.  One of the receiving parties then suavely moves the networker out of the conversation, writing “moving networker to BCC.”

Improving email hygiene

Reply All, The Myndset Digital Marketing & Brand StrategyBut, this isn’t the only time to use such an expression.  As email threads and discussions continue on with an all too lazy REPLY ALL, would it not be appropriate to scrape off the unnecessary parties and do a “moving to BCC”?  The concept is to copy/paste the folks in CC who are no longer needed and move them in BCC; then, to refer in the body of the email, “moving all other parties into BCC”…

Of course, it takes some practice and mistakes are bound to occur — if only for some offended egos.

Yet, I wonder just how many unwanted emails we could eliminated by implementing such a protocol?  We need to find ways to improve our email hygiene.  Is the moving the BCC something that suits you?

If you want further convincing, try this post by Jack Newton in Slaw.ca

Your thoughts are welcome.

Comments 12

  1. I have when people move a large distribution group to BCC. People are subscribed to several distribution groups and don’t read them usually. When somebody use the ‘Move to BCC’ feature you always receive email from them to your primary folder that you don’t even want to see…

    1. I think that large distribution groups is another kettle of fish, Roman. I would entirely agree with you in this case. First of all, a large distribution group should probably be sent in BCC. Secondly, any responses to a large distribution should not be CC’d or BCC’d. I’m not sure about the issue of primary folder (in gmail?).

  2. I have when people move a large distribution group to BCC. People are subscribed to several distribution groups and don’t read them usually. When somebody use the ‘Move to BCC’ feature you always receive email from them to your primary folder that you don’t even want to see…

    1. I think that large distribution groups is another kettle of fish, Roman. I would entirely agree with you in this case. First of all, a large distribution group should probably be sent in BCC. Secondly, any responses to a large distribution should not be CC’d or BCC’d. I’m not sure about the issue of primary folder (in gmail?).

  3. I hate when people move a large distribution group to BCC. People are subscribed to several distribution groups and don’t read them usually. When somebody use the ‘Move to BCC’ feature you always receive email from them to your primary folder that you don’t even want to see…

  4. I hate when people move a large distribution group to BCC. People are subscribed to several distribution groups and don’t read them usually. When somebody use the ‘Move to BCC’ feature you always receive email from them to your primary folder that you don’t even want to see…

  5. I find BCC very frightening – you BCC people in on a message and they hit “Reply All” and others go “How did he know about this message?” thereby dumping you in it. So I have a script. If I add people to the BCC field, running this script removes them from the message, sends the message to the to: and cc: candidates and then copies the message to each of those who’d been BBC’d with an added “I though that you should know that I have just sent this message to .” If they then hit reply or even reply-all then only I get their response…

    I’d share the script but I have a particularly geeky email setup so it probably wouldn’t work for others so I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader.

    1. That sounds like an astute, if rather geeky, workaround, Roland!! Share the javascript by all means for the inspired!

      BCC can feel rather fishy as part of the initiation of a message… You do need to rely on the BCC receiver to have discretion. In the case above, I use it with transparency, alerting all involved about the person being moved to BCC…

  6. I must be an idiot because I don’t understand this trick. Do you in fact move the networker to the bcc field of the emails going forward? If so, how does that make the slightest difference to the volume of their inbox? Or is “Moving to bcc” a euphemism for dropping someone off altogether?
    Thanks for the clarification.

    1. Hi Crystal,
      The purpose of putting the networker in the BCC is indeed to reduce the emails in his/her inbox. By so doing, you continue to exchange with the new contact and the networker doesn’t need to participate as a bystander in that conversation. As a courtesy, I try to remember to get back to the networker to let him/her know what came of the new connection. This manoeuvre won’t reduce your inbox unfortunately, but it shows you are attentive to your networker friend! If they want to stay in the loop then I would say it’s up to them to express the need!

    2. I too was confused as to how this differed from just removing them. Then I realized they’ll get the first response on which they’re bcc’d and know the connection is made, but they won’t get any of the subsequent “reply all” emails.

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