No cc me! I want to be cc’d! How come I wasn’t on that cc list?

This special little line in emails, “CC…” used to be for adding someone who could benefit from the knowledge and exchange for a particular message. (If you are staying pure it should still be for that). Whoever designed this added the ellipsis. That is like an invitation to add the world (because we all know the ellipsis goes to infinity- and beyond).

What followed was the development of four distinct versions for CC line use.

Inclusionary CC-ing

This is the original intent gone a little bad.

If Joe is added then I should add Sue. Once Sue hears of this Janice will know so I better put her in too. Janice plays softball with Ray on that coed team. Ray has nothing to do with this, but he hangs out with a lot of peripheral, to my work, stakeholders. Ray’s gotta get in there too. The heck with it. I will just put EVERYONE in there.


Go back to the original intent of the CC. Stick with at least, “Definitely needs to know”. And make “needs to know” mean something in terms of the actions that result from the email (as in accomplishments, not the actions of a ridiculous wave of follow-up emails).

Cover your… Blank CC

Once you get into an inclusionary pattern with that CC line you begin to wonder if you will miss someone. And you fall into a horrible pattern of not trusting yourself, not trusting others and feeling like you have to tell everyone and say everything to avoid reprimands (the real performance kind and the little digs that hurt worse).

Best to just cover your “you know what” right?

Funny thing though. The people with the long CC lists often are not trusted. Because they will, of course, TELL EVERYONE EVERYTHING.


Do a good job. Yes that goes without saying, but if you are spending a lot of time creating those long lists and looking up all those contacts you probably AREN”T doing your job (or you are getting little sleep).

Tip 2:

Because this one deserves two tips.

Spend more time interacting in person. Build a little trust with some of those people you would put on the CC line. They may thank you for not bugging them with lots of stuff.

Send a Message CC

I love watching this one play out.

The best version is to include someone’s boss as a CC.

HA! You didn’t think I was going to tell them about that DID you?

Another version is to include someone you have little secrets with. You send a message and let that co-conspirator watch the show!

The most comical is the person who is constantly “sending messages”. People glance at the message, snicker, then hit the delete button. Or maybe save into the parked items folder in case they need a good snicker later.

The Accountability CC

This one might be a good one.

You use the CC line to call out tasks and owners of those tasks.

This creates our modern version of a paper trail to make sure things get done. Nothing like a little peer pressure to get people off of those chairs accomplishing something!

Another version here is the CC for accountability of thought. Do we all agree on this? See the people I included… does your agreement fall within their range of acceptance? No… then start the email chain.

Which of course leads to the comical CC’s after the first CC. You know, “looping people in”. Lasso might be a better word.


Use this form sparingly, but use it well. This one actually works.


Email etiquette. There are now four forms of the CC process: Inclusionary, Cover your _ _ _ _, send a message and create accountability. We have come so far from the need to know version. (snark).

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