Please address me correctly, or not at all.

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart SA541769000

I have a lot of pet peeves. I am old and I am entitled. Lately, one of the things that have been irritating me is the way some people use email. Almost everyone is capable of emailing. It is fast, inexpensive, and efficient. For those reasons, email has become the default way to pass information among people.

But not everyone follows proper protocol when addressing emails to another party. Protocol? You say. What do you mean? Are you implying there are rules for using email?

While there are many rules for proper email practice, the one most often abused is sending emails that should be directed to one party, but are sent to a group of other people that may not be part of the conversation.

Imagine if every time you started a new conversation with someone you stood up and spoke to the entire room or audience. Even worse, what if everyone in earshot began responding, even if you were not speaking to them?

Addressing an email properly will help ensure that the people that need the information take priority over those that do not. Emails should be addressed in a hierarchical order.

The To: address: The simplest to understand. Add the email address of the person(s) you are trying to converse with.

Cc: or carbon copy: If you’d like to send a copy of the message to someone else who is not required to read or respond, then the Cc address makes it easy. In business, Ccing allows you to keep parties not directly involved in the communique to stay updated.

Bcc: or blind carbon copy: Make use of the Bcc, or blind carbon copy to send a copy of your email to an interested party without revealing their email information to the other parties.

Why is the proper use of email addressing so important? Because it allows senders and receivers to know who has originated the email in question and is particularly important when replying. So often I see emails sent to multiple parties. Then when more than one party replies it triggers a chain of emails that makes it difficult to keep in sync.

It is annoying when someone sends an email addressed to ten people without regard for who is in the conversation. It ends up initiating a series of replies that borders on chaos.

The attached image shows a reply to a properly formatted email. Notice that the sender and receiver are the only ones in the two and from fields. The other addressees are in the Cc: field, indicating that they have been tagged only as a courtesy. The Bcc: address does not show up at all.

Using Cc:, and Bcc: properly will keep the email addresses in proper order and reduce confusion.

The problem is that most people have never been taught how to email. They simply figured it out on their own and never gave a second thought to the proper use of addressing.

When the judge tells you to “approach the bench,” it is because he wants to consult only with the parties in question. He does not ask the entire courtroom to approach the bench. So, if you have not been asked to approach, stay in your seat.

Joe Domino is a Realtor® serving the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Need more information? Or to Search for your next home, visit

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Comments (29)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 - I agree totally.  In organization this causes the most problems with copies to other when you are addressing something that should go to one person.

Jan 16, 2021 06:25 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Too many cooks...

Jan 17, 2021 07:37 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jan 16, 2021 06:32 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Kathy

Jan 17, 2021 07:38 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Wonderful advice, Joseph. This is one of my pet peeves, as well. And then there's the reply to all button that is way overused.

Jan 17, 2021 04:54 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

It becomes a chain letter.

Jan 18, 2021 07:38 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Joseph Domino 480-390-6011,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post on her "Ah-Ha" moments for the week as I missed it. What great's also a pet peeve of mine..we should all take notice and think about this when emailing..there is a protocol.

Jan 17, 2021 07:29 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thank Dorie.


Jan 18, 2021 07:39 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Huge nerve hit for me! When everyone on the email also responds back to everyone which in turn, clogs my email inbox! Yikes.

Jan 17, 2021 07:30 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Paula.


Jan 18, 2021 07:41 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi, Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 - I learned this when I was in the"corporate" world.  Sometimes, I just think it is a lazy habit and easier to hit the reply to all button.  I also like Kathy Streib's comment.  All those email addresses were not just annoying but also invasive to one's privacy. and then there are those who use ALL CAPS! LOL!

Jan 17, 2021 09:02 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Yes, laziness or in a hurry.

Jan 18, 2021 07:42 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

I enjoyed the read and do agree Joseph. Your last paragraph is priceless!

Jan 17, 2021 10:09 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

That is why I try to stay out of court.

Jan 18, 2021 07:42 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

One cannot be in our business without knowing how to properly send an email.  Its too easy to hurt a client with too many extra people on the distribution

Jan 17, 2021 10:25 AM
Beth and Richard Witt

Ed... you're kidding us right???

Jan 18, 2021 09:24 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Yes, you could end up sending something private to the wrong party.

Jan 18, 2021 07:44 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Group email & text gets annoying quickly, especially when all chime in with "thank you" or "I'll be there" or other trivial comments. Great post!

Jan 17, 2021 11:34 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Thomas.

Jan 18, 2021 07:44 PM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

Teaching people property email etiquitte should be required the first day someone joins a large organization.  Great post.  I liked your comment about being Old and Entitled.  I might add a third element "Man".  That way you can admit to being an O.E.M. product. 😎 For those of you that aren't aware of that acronym, it is usually associated with Original Equipment Manufacturer.  

Jan 17, 2021 11:52 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

I can identify with O.E.M.


Jan 18, 2021 07:45 PM
Ralph Magin
Coldwell Banker Realty - Miami, FL
Miami Homes For Sale

Great information. Thanks for sharing. Much success.

Jan 18, 2021 07:10 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thank you Ralph.

Jan 18, 2021 07:45 PM
Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Center Moriches, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

So Joe ... let me get this straight... when we get old (whatever that is) we are entitled to have a lot of pet peeves???  Thanks for the chuckle...

Jan 18, 2021 09:26 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

There must be some advantage to old age?

Jan 18, 2021 07:46 PM
Graziella Bruner
NCS Premier Real Estate - Detroit, MI
Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County

I believe we all have those pet peeves, nothing like getting text after text when someone adds you to a group text or even email. I normally try to be mindful to whom I'm sending and to how many. If a reply is required, I then state in the email to respond to my email only. 

Jan 18, 2021 10:15 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

I have a lot more pet peeves. Stay tuned.

Jan 18, 2021 07:47 PM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

To me, it is plain to know how to email and I don't understand why all people don't understand the CC and BCC.

Thank you for sharing Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 

Jan 18, 2021 07:25 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Often just too much of a hurry. Thanks Candace.

Jan 18, 2021 07:48 PM
Winifred Smith, CRB SFR AHWD RENE
RE/MAX Advance Realty - Kendall, FL
VP - Training & Education

Such a great post!  I'd like to add that it can be dangerous to hit Reply All unless you are requested to.  I have seen confidential information unintentionally go to parties to a transaction because of this mistake.  It isn't just irritating, it can be a breach of fiduciary responsibilities.  We should also be careful when forwarding an email.  Depending on your email settings, you may inadvertently be sending a complete email chain, rather than just the latest communication.

Jan 19, 2021 10:07 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Winifred. I just had that happen. I mistakenly received an email not meant for me with a buyers financial information. It is a good thing I have blinders on.

Feb 04, 2021 04:43 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Email etiquette needs to be learned. Getting on someone's text or email that goes to many others is a big no-no. I notice this more with friends and family passing on not so funny jokes. Even more annoying is when they send the same text to a gazillion people and they all respond at once...usually with a client. Thanks for the reminder!  Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 

Jan 20, 2021 09:23 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Margaret.

Feb 04, 2021 04:44 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

My manager is the one that cc's everyone instead of bbc. This giant block of addresses comes across that is 4" long. Very unprofessional. He's got a nice assistant so why doesn't he ask her what to do.


Jan 21, 2021 08:14 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

I am surprised someone hasn't questioned him. It isn't that hard.

Feb 04, 2021 04:44 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I thought this post would be about other correct practices involving email.  When there are lots of cc's, easy to keep all parties informed

Jan 25, 2021 09:09 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Just be careful.

Feb 04, 2021 04:45 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I so appreciate your post Joe.  Lately, I've been receiving emails from a lender that are addressed to Jan L.  Reason being is that I always include my initials on everything, especially my real estate license, due to the fact that Jan is my full name.  Others shorten their name to Jan so I can't distinguish myself unless I use the "L."  If that lender would lose the L in the address line, it would look much better, to me at least.  I could go on and on about the mishaps of my name, including being addressed Mr., but that would be an entire post!  All the best - great post!

Jan 26, 2021 08:58 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Jan. Hard to believe he would address you as Mr.

Feb 04, 2021 04:46 PM
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Think twice before you reply all!  I really think OUTLOOK should have a pop up that says "do you really want to reply to all?" and Use the BCC to avoid the dreaded reply all inbox clogger (my personal email pet peeve)

Feb 03, 2021 07:46 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Yes, they ask you for every other little thing.

Feb 04, 2021 04:47 PM