Emails!!! In this century, people, office and organizations are connected through mails. This is the century where mails are preferred much more than a verbal conversation. Why? Because these mails can later be used as a proof of the conversation.
The days of the office memo are gone. You do not sign on those circulars that the office boys circulate in departments seeking the signature of everybody reading it. Today it is the electronic signature that is important and it is a valid enough evidence that you have read a circular.
This is a series that I am starting today on professional email etiquettes. This series would cover everything that is important when you write a professional email – the what, how and when of email writing.
In the first article here, we will be discussing about the importance of addressing the right person in the “To” field.
If you peep into your inbox right now, you will find quite a few mails which were actually ones that were to be actioned by you, yet you were nowhere in the “To” field of the email. There would also be certain other emails where you were one of the many who were addressed in the “To” field, but you had nothing to do with it and it was just for your information.
The Importance of the “To” field –
The “To” address field has a lot of importance. It is indeed the electronic signature that we discussed a while ago in one of the paragraphs above. When you mark a mail to a person, he is supposed to be the intended recipient of the mail. He is the one who is to action on the email, if the email had an actionable item in it. He is the one who virtually electronically signs the email, accepting that he has received the mail and that he will action on it, unless he explicitly writes back saying that he disagrees to the actions.
This importance of the “To” box is often forgotten. Emails that you receive are blindly forwarded to others without even checking on who is the person to act on the email.
The person who you think has to definitely and compulsorily read the email has to be marked in the “To” box. It is only he or, they if there is a group of people who should be there in the “To” box. The rest of the people who, you think should be kept in the loop and who should also know about such a mail being sent by you are the ones who should be marked in the “Cc” or, “Bcc” boxes.
Always bear in mind that the person receiving the mail will only give as much importance to it as is required and he will decide this on the basis of the field that his name is appearing on.
A lot of extremely important activities and updates miss the actual intended recipients just because the email sender did not bother to focus on the “To” field.
It would be extremely unprofessional on your part if, you miss the name of the intended recipient from the “To” box. Hence the first lesson in professional emailing is to carefully identify the people who should be marked on the mail in the “To” field and the ones who the mail is to be marked as a carbon copy.