Don’t “Cc:” Me- The Etiquette of Response


March 18, 2013

My inboxes are filled.

Between work email and several personal email accounts I’m completely overloaded.  Why, you ask?  It’s the dreaded “Cc:”.  For some reason, the whole world has gone crazy with the need to copy multiple people on every email.  Then, people who are copied don’t realize what it means and they weigh in.  Then, THEY Cc: the entire list when they hit “Reply To All”.  It’s a never-ending cycle of email chains.

I’ll keep the advice simple and direct today and hope that if you’re like me, there are people you can share the etiquette with so that they stop the viscous cycle.

Cc: Etiquette

  • When you “Cc:” someone or if someone copies you, the intent is for the message to be FYI.  It does not mean that a response is needed.
  • If you do have information to share, reply only back to the person who sent the email, not everyone on the list.
  • If you are copied on a message that is personal in nature, definitely do not start a dialogue between you and the sender and keep copying the entire list of people the message originally went to.
  • Only copy people who are absolutely in the “need-to-know” category.
  • If you want to respond back to the sender and you’re just saying thank you, DO NOT copy everyone else on the email.

Simple etiquette in how we communicate professionally and personally is something we need to focus on ourselves and to push the people we interact with to understand how to do better as well.  Don’t agree?  Just email someone and Cc: me.

What do you think?  Are you fed up too?



  • I used to have full, full, FULL mailboxes with stupid Cc messages. I would have the same joke forwarded to my mailbox no less than three times; the record was thirty-two of the same freakin’ email!!!!

    I took to literally changing out e mail addresses every few years just to get away from the Cc messages. Then, it would seem that those creep right back into my life. However, with this recent change (knock on wood), no Cc’s so far.

  • Trish,

    Nice thought provoker!

    Each new communication medium brings a frightening array of possibilities and challenges. Twenty years into it and we’re still trying to figure out how to use email effectively.

    Ironically, I just “cc’d” all of your followers with this post. And, I don’t know most of them.

    I could start a rant on bcc, but I’ll stay on topic . . . .


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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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