Think Before You “Reply To All”

As a follow-up to last weeks post on managing e-mail I thought I’d blog about something else related to e-mail – the “Reply To All” button.  Let me lay out the senario for you.  You go into a meeting and have no unread/new e-mails, you come out an hour later and you have 37 e-mails.  That generally wouldn’t be a problem or even unusual until you realize it is just one e-mail chain and that you’ve been struck by  2 or 3 people in a distribution using e-mail as instant messenger.  This is just one example but I’m sure most of you have experienced the Reply To All phenomenon in one way or another.  Unfortunately, at least for me it seems to be happening more and more often.  And YES, I’m guilty of it too.

So my plea in this weeks blog is to think before we reply to all.  A few small steps on our part could save our friends, family and co-workers loads of unnecessary e-mails and give them more time to do more important things in life.

1-      If you receive an e-mail from your boss for instance, sent to a large distribution list (like “Sales”) asking that everyone reply with next months sales estimates  –  when you reply, reply to your boss not to everyone.  Comon sense right – you’d be surprised.

2-      E-mail as Instant Messenger – Distribution lists are great for sharing information but when that sharing of information becomes a back and forth between two or three individual in the group using the dist group like IM it just clogs up everyone elses inbox.  Take it offline in a separate thread.

3-      Ask yourself before you click – Does everyone  in the To: and Cc: fields really need to be included in the e-mail I’m about to send?

Maybe it’s just a pipe dream of mine but maybe we can all work to reduce the amount of crap we get in our inbox and help contribute to a solution and not the problem.  So please, think before you click the easy button and reply to all.



One Response to “Think Before You “Reply To All””

  1. Andrew Miller Says:

    This is where good threading in my mail client and iPhone absolutely save me….make it really clear what’s part of a long, single converation…

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