Type “email etiquette” into the search bar of any popular online search engine and you’ll get over one million hits. Because email can be used so broadly, it poses certain trouble for the professional who is attempting to communicate well. Some of those over one million hits will explain the advantages of using email to conduct your company because it is a fast and efficient form of communicating. However, email is usually the least preferred approach to communicating by a lot of readers.

Knowing that, I want to address among the many options of email–the “Reply All” function. Applying this function carefully will help you protect and improve your professional credibility and keep you from alienating your readers–especially those who don’t like email in the first place.

I’m a member of many online groups, and frequently a group’s leader will Share Email as Link for the entire group giving out information or delivering a reason for instruction. Way too frequently, recipients of this group message will respond to the sender by striking the “Reply All” function. The problem with this is all their “can do,” “got it,” and “thanks” responses result in my Inbox becoming clutter I actually have to go through and delete.

Deliberate Purpose

The “Reply All” function should be restricted to when all members of the recipient list require the information being sent. Permit me to state that again, reserve the “Reply All” for when ALL members have to have the responder’s answer. In the number of cases are you looking to know that one of the recipients said “okay”? Not often. Instead, in the interest of your time, efficiency, and professionalism this type of response should be sent just to the person who generates the initial email.

You’ve read within my other articles that poor communication is the top symptom in business. Hitting “Reply All” in habit and not as being a carefully chosen choice is poor communication since it clutters our inboxes with information we don’t need. If we take into account that every “Reply All” is a piece of paper on our desks, would we want all of the responses? Absolutely not. We’d be buried in paper!

Certainly, “Reply All” has its uses. In a collaborative project where all people in the group have to be kept apprised in the goings-on of staff, using “Reply All” is the right thing to do. This is particularly important if the team works remotely or when people in the team focus on opposite shifts or don’t see each other frequently. Then using “Reply All” is good communication since it keeps the lines of communication open and moving. Yet, I caution judicious utilisation of the “Reply All” function.

Real-Life Consequences

We have another great reason to use the “Reply All” function judiciously which has to do with the functioning of a unit together. Using “Reply All” well can increase a team’s capability to function keeping communication open, thereby improving the company reach its goals. However, using “Reply All” may also be used as being a weapon and become destructive skrfil a team relationship. Without a doubt a story that will help you understand this.

I’ve been working with a business that has had quite a bit of internal strife for a number of reasons. In order to be a little more supportive, the president of the organization sent a complimentary email about one staffer’s efforts to her entire staff. Nice email. Good job of communicating how employees are making the organization better. This was a responsive, proactive thing to do on the part of the president. Here’s what actually transpired next: another from the president’s employees hit “Reply All” and said “Don’t forget that Jane did her part, too.”

For the casual observer this exchange may well not are most often a large deal. But although that message might seem innocuous, it conveys testiness also. The staffer’s reply was created not just in acknowledge Jane but to “show” the remainder of the staff that this president didn’t really know that which was taking place within the organization. The reality that the staffer sent the “Reply All” to acknowledge Jane experienced a subversive intent, which was to expose the failings from the president. The president then scrambled to give Jane the appropriate acknowledgement and sent another message via “Reply All” acknowledging Jane’s contribution. The end result: the president was put on the defensive facing her entire staff. Not just a good position to get a leader to be in.