Addressing Multiple People In An Email: 3 Rules To Do It Right
Who this micro-class is for
What you’ll learn
* How to address multiple people in the same email
* The factors to consider for an appropriate email salutation
* Less than 5 minutes to complete
About this micro-class
Email salutations are essential in setting the tone and maintaining professionalism in business communication.
1. Factors to Consider for Email Salutations
Consider the level of formality required based on the recipient and the context of the email.
Tailor the salutation based on your relationship with the recipient, whether it’s a colleague, client, or someone of higher authority.
Culture and Industry Norms
Understand the cultural and industry-specific norms regarding email communication.
2. Email Salutation Best Practices
Use of Recipient's Name
Whenever possible, use the recipient’s name in the salutation to personalize the email.
Double-check to avoid misspelling the recipient’s name. If the recipient has a difficult name to spell, copy and paste it from the email address or the email signature of the person.
Email Salutations When You Don't Know the Recipient's Name
Avoid salutations such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam”, as they are overused and often perceived negatively.
Instead, consider a formal salutation such as “Hello” or “Good afternoon” without a name.
Be Mindful of Titles
Address individuals with their appropriate titles (e.g., Dr., Professor, Mr., Mrs., Ms., or their professional title).
Use titles only when you are sure about their correctness. For example, don’t use “Dear Mr. Doe” or “Dear Mrs. Doe” if you are unsure about the gender your recipient identifies with.
Consider the Time of Day
For initial or formal communication, consider using a more formal salutation, while in subsequent emails, a more casual greeting might be appropriate.
Tailor to the Relationship
If the relationship is more informal, a casual greeting like “Hi” or “Hello” might be suitable.
The most appropriate salutation in formal emails is “Dear” followed by the full name of the recipient. Examples: “Dear Jane Doe” or “Dear John Doe”.
When the tone of the email is formal but friendly, it is acceptable to use “Hello” followed by the first name or the full name of the recipient. Examples: “Hello Jane” or “Hello Jane Doe”.
Greetings such as “Good morning” or “Good evening” are appropriate too in formal emails. In general, such salutations are more friendly than “Dear” but more formal than “Hello”.
Slang greetings are acceptable only among young people in very informal messages.
Salutations in an Email Thread
When replying to an email, include a salutation only in the first reply. It is not necessary to repeat salutations in any subsequent emails of the same thread.
3. Addressing Multiple Recipients in the Same Email
Don't address recipients in CC
Write salutations for recipients in the “To” field. CC and BCC don’t require a salutation.
Ensure the salutation is clear and inclusive to avoid confusion about who the email is intended for.
Addressing 4 or More Recipients in an Email
When addressing a group of 4 or more persons, it is best to use a common salutation.
General Salutation: Use a general salutation that fits the context of the email. “Hello All,” “Dear Team,” or “Good Morning Everyone” are examples that work well for a collective audience. “Dear all” works too but is considered more formal.
Addressing by Role or Group: If the recipients belong to different groups or departments, consider addressing them accordingly. For instance, “Dear Marketing Team,” “Hi Sales Representatives,” or “Greetings to All Managers.”
Addressing 2 or 3 Recipients in an Email
When addressing 2 or 3 recipients in an email, use a common salutation or by stating each person’s name. Examples:
- “Dear Anna, Bill, and Carl”.
- “Good morning Anna and Bill”.
A more formal option is to greet each person individually. Example:
- “Dear Anna, Dear Bill, Dear Carl”
Appropriate Order to Address Multiple Recipients
Address email recipients in the most appropriate order for the occasion. Examples:
- By seniority, from senior to junior.
- By team or family group.
- Alphabetical, from A to Z, either last name or first name.