Sending Emails Addressed to
Two or More People
When sending emails to two or more people, they should be directly involved in the subject at hand. A particular communication goal is to be achieved.
Organizational updates, project collaboration, and information to be shared are all reasons for including multiple people when sending emails. As with all forms of communication, consideration should be given to purpose, clarity, and tone.
The beginning of an email sets the tone of your message; from the subject line to the salutation and into the first paragraph.
The subject line, while brief, should be informational. Recipients should recognize that the email pertains to them. Simply by reading it, they determine the reason for your message and a potential level of importance.
The salutation will vary according to the purpose of the email and the relationship to recipients.
- If you meet colleagues with regularity or have pre-existing relationships, less formality works fine.
- If you are communicating with professional colleagues who are new, or you are new, or with one of two news agency representatives, keep your language formal. Regardless, all communication must be respectful of individuals and the group as a whole.
The salutation in a professional setting:
- “Dear (addressees)” followed by a colon, rather than a comma.
- You can use full names with job titles in a list format if this corresponds with the subject and desired outcome. Double check for accuracy.
- When addressing a group or organization members, the name of the group should be in the subject line. The salutation may or may not contain full names or job roles.
- Avoid punctuation that includes “and” before the last person is listed.
"Dr. John Rogers, Ms. Jody Talbert, Mr. Phill Vickery:"
If you are cc-ing:
- Include only people who will be directly involved with associated duties regarding a meeting’s purpose. For example, Ms. Jodi Williams may be cc’d if her skills are needed to distribute certain manuscripts by a certain time. Mr. Ben Cody may be needed to arrange catering.
- If someone is copied, they should know exactly why by the nature of the purpose.
- Do not cc persons who you just want to know are watching, who are extraneous to the conversation.
Responding to Group Emails
Sending emails to a group typically calls for responses sent to the group. But only if the response is relevant to everyone.
- A quick “thank you” for information shared does not need to be sent to everyone.
- Ensure that any messages sent to the group are not only relevant, but also considerate to everyone included.
If the author of the original email finds that things are getting off track with replying errors and inconsistencies, she may need to write a separate and short email to all with the subject line, “Getting us Back on Track.” Briefly describe the communication confusions and re-state protocols; then direct the group back to the first discussion, assuming directions will be heeded.
Advice for Sending Emails in General
Written communication can be tricky depending on the subject or information you are attempting to convey. Some things to keep in mind for sending emails are:
- Edit all emails before sending for typos, misspelled words and incomplete sentences.
- Be concise, clear, and brief.
- Scrutinize your email tone of voice. Build in empathy.
- As email is not a chat but more of a letter format, don’t send choppy messages as you might in an instant message.
- Do not write anything you wouldn’t want to be read by everyone you know – and some people you don’t know. Electronic communications are never private!
The impressions you make when sending emails that bring together the right people for the purpose intended, with a tone of kindness and consideration for all, is bound to bring respect. As an email participant, your keen observance of the rules of communication that help get the purpose accomplished in the best amount of time without cluttering inboxes will enhance your role as a team player.
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