Tip o’ the Week #264 – BCC people to a meeting

clip_image002There’s a great deal of etiquette bound up in email communications – and it varies by culture and sometimes by country. Some people politely make the point of always addressing the recipient in an email, and in thanking them at the end, whereas others apparently look on it as a badge of honour to contain everything in a single terse line with no capitalization. Especially when it comes to OOF messages.

One of the cardinal sins of email management is in misusing the BCC function – you know, the ability to copy someone on an email without showing their name to everyone else. BCC can be very handy at letting one user or group know what is being said to another, without exposing the former’s email addresses or in fact making it explicit that they’re aware of what’s going on. Maybe duplicitous but clip_image004handy at times.

Whatever you do, do not BCC large distribution lists. Some people think they’re doing a group a favour by replying-all to some thread and BCC’ing the group so it doesn’t get sent any of the subsequent replies… but what that often will do is circumvent any rules that members of that group have set up to fire all emails sent to it, into a folder. Now, post-BCC, everyone will probably receive your email in their Inbox, all the while wondering why.

What About meeting requests?

clip_image006BCC is very handy when you’re emailing a group of people – maybe sending an external mail to a bunch of customers and you don’t want to inadvertently share everyone’s address with each other.

Funnily enough, one scenario where BCC would be most useful is when you want to invite lots of people to a meeting – an event, a party, etc  – and there are plenty reasons why it might be best that they don’t know who else is being invited. Yet, there is no BCC option on meeting requests… it’s just not there.

clip_image008But feat not, intrepid readers – it is possible to effectively BCC people on a meeting request, by inviting them as Resources. There are basically 2 ways that most of us will add names to a meeting request – either create it as a meeting in the first place, or create an appointment, then…

· …either type their names into the shown-by-default “To” box, or choose Scheduling Assistant to add people by just entering their names in the list, to invite them.

· … or add names to your request by clicking on Invite Attendees (which actually turns an appointment into a meeting, as meetings are appointments where other people are invited – ya falla’?), then click on the To button (or Add Attendees button).
clip_image010 This brings up a dialog box that will expect you to select people from the address list, and select them as Required or Optional attendees (does anyone ever use Optional?). Or, in fact, Resources – the thinking being that the address book could have entries for resources like meeting rooms or even bookable equipment, that you could invite to your meeting thereby claiming it for your exclusive use.

Now, if you’d like to invite people to a meeting and have the request be sent out to them but not show their address to anyone else, just stick them in as Resources – either by selecting them from the address book or just typing/pasting their name or email address in the box (so it works for external recipients too).

They get a meeting request as normal, they show up in the meeting organiser’s list of attendees, responses get tracked etc – but when any of the attendees looks at a meeting in their own calendar, they won’t see the names of anyone in Resources. Clever, eh?

Comments (7)
  1. Julie says:

    I had seen on a forum that to avoid having the invitees of an outlook meeting request visible (similar to Bcc for an email), we could put the recipients as resources.
    Indeed, when receiving, it seems the list was not visible. But when replying to the invite with an email, some of them became visible and were put as Cc of that reply automatically.
    Also, it seems the invite was being received regularly (every ten minutes for some of them) even though the recipient had accepted or declined.

    From our side, we received multiple claims about this inconvenience and also received notifications of several approved/declined meeting for the same invitee.

    we eventually cancelled the meeting request.

  2. Vicky says:

    If I do this my invitees cannot respond to the meeting request, they just get the request as an email with no Accept/Decline etc. options

  3. S. Panza says:

    While my attendees can respond, everyone’s e-mail is still visible if they were to look in the Scheduling Assistant on their outlook invite.

    1. EwanD says:

      Have you tried it as a recipient? You as organizer still see everyone in the Scheduling assistant, but as an attendee who’s been invited as a resource, you will only see yourself.

  4. Lupe Loza says:

    The instruction on using the bcc under resources in inaccurate. I tried this and the names to display. So the other invitees do see who else is invited. This is what I am trying to avoid…

  5. Bruce Southworth says:

    I tried this – making an individual a resource added their name to the location field with the original location struck out. Maybe this used to work, but not on Windows 10 with Office 365.

  6. rob says:

    Hi Ewan, this unfortunately does not work. (not on outlook 2016 O365 as of October 2017)
    All the recipients added as “Resources” can see the list of people as the location or “WHERE” display item on the invitation.

    so BCC is clearly still missing from email and hopefully MSFT will add it at some stage (Although I need a workaround now!!!)


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