The secret language of emails

The correct use of the address box is that where your name is in the To box action is expected from you (which could be anything from reading and being aware to responding).  If you are in the Cc box, we all know Cc stands for Carbon Copy, in other words for information only.  Indeed adept email managers who value their time often have a rule which diverts all Cc’d email to a folder which they read later after dealing with the top priorities for the day.

As a sender, if you want action from the recipient here are five ways to limit the risk of them over looking your email.


Always put the person in the To box.


If there are several people in the To box, be precise about what you expect from each person.


When there are more than five people in the To box think about using the Bcc box that way each person sees only their name.


Keep your emails short – think fives.  Maximum five sentences, five bullet points etc.


Keep the email focused to one topic.  Don’t write about a topic then at the last minute add a line about something different.


As the recipient, wherever your name is in the To box, even if the email is long, make the time to read the whole email.  Whilst the onus is on the sender, not all senders understand these principles which is hardly surprising given that less than 25% of email users have ever had any proper email best practice training.

For more tips and hints on how to improve your email etiquette and save time dealing with email why not invite Mesmo Consultancy to run a Brilliant Email master classes.

To assess yourself, try using the Email Etiquette checklist:

Dr Monica Seeley founder of Mesmo Consultancy, is a leading expert in email best practice and how to save time dealing with email. ‘Brilliant Email’, her third book, draws on the wealth of experience gained from her work and research.  As a Senior Visiting Fellow at Sir John Cass Business School, City University, her research studies include the future of email and the use of social networking tools to improve communications.

For more information about Monica and Mesmo Consultancy see

Author profile: Monica Seeley

Dr Monica Seeley, founder of Mesmo Consultancy, is a leading international expert on how to reduce email overload and use email etiquette to improve personal and business performance.

Monica is a Senior Visiting Fellow at Sir John Cass Business School, City University and Bournemouth University Business School.  She is Chairman of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce’s Council.

Monica is a respected commentator on the effective strategic use of electronic communications and often appears on the BBC and in the Financial Times.  She has written several books, the latest being ‘Brilliant Email’.  As the ‘Emaildoctor’ on Twitter - Monica posts daily tips on smart email management.


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The secret language of emails



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