I don’t get many e-mails. “Lucky you!” I hear you say. I don’t work for a large organisation and so, most e-mails are for my eyes only and include relevant content. But every now and then, I do get cc’d into a conversation. And then, what do I do?
What’s acceptable? Do I reply – “got it!” Do I file it?
Do I ignore it?
Do I contribute to it or remain a silent witness?
The Bottom Line‘s 17 November podcast (no more until next year, sorry) inspired me to share my dilemmas with you – oh, the perils of 21st century Western life! One of the discussion themes was modes of communication and one of the guests mentioned that, on occasions, by carbon copying their bosses on an e-mail, some people were ‘upward delegating’ (there’s a wonderful phrase for all of you wanting to ‘manage your boss’).
By cc’ing, do you spread out responsibility? Are you basically saying: look at what I’ve said, now you know about it. But what if I didn’t ask to be cc’d?
On the other hand, cc’ing (I wonder if the Oxford dictionary will pick this one up!) can be a way of including others and inviting collaboration – is your cc saying “Look, I wanted to share this with you”, or “Just wanted to keep you in the loop”?
E-mail carbon copying is another technological communication tool and as such, like multiple others, needs to be used appropriately and showing consideration for the receiver. Does everyone in your team need to receive your e-mail? Is there a different way of sharing information with them – if it really needs sharing?
(And don’t get me started on personal e-mails where your address appears visible on the cc line along with 100s of others – have you not heard of BCC?? Blank CC for those of you who’ve never used it.)
I’m all up for using e-mail – you can send messages at any time in the day, it’s free (kind of) and you can take your time in replying to them. Besides, I’m more comfortable being off-line than turning my mobile off.
So I’ll leave you with some phrases CC might well stand for and a lovely picture of a good ol’ typewriter – remember that lovely shiny carbon paper??. Please feel free to share your own, but don’t be rude, remember this is a public space.