5 Reply-All Ground Rules | Golden Rules Gal

Aug, 14, 2019

The information highway is busier than ever. The only downtime that seems to exist is when our phones are turned off. With texting, social media channels, and emails galore, simplifying our messaging seems in order.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a group email thread that just keeps going on and on? Either people don’t know not to hit Reply All, or they forget that a chain of responses can clog up everyone’s inbox, and I do mean clog. It’s a waste of time to hit Delete over and over again just to see everyone else’s meaningless response. Along with junk mail and legitimate mail, Reply All simply adds another layer of waste. It spells broadcasting, which spells trouble.

While Reply All can be useful for certain e-groups (getting out the staff meeting message; board meeting minutes, etc.), think before you choose this option. The point of Reply All is to make it easy to respond to a group message in an efficient manner, but it isn’t always necessary to respond to everyone.

Here are some Reply All/group email ground rules:

  • When sending a group email, blind copy all of your recipients so that when they answer, the reply goes only to you. Some people don’t want to have their email address shared with people they don’t know, or they may simply not want it known that they are involved in the topic of the email.
  • If a group email does ask for a “Reply All,” then do so by all means, but otherwise don’t take it upon yourself to reply to everyone when a response to one person will suffice. Ask yourself: Is it really important that I respond to everyone on this group email? Does this email really concern me? If not, keep life simple: Respond only to the sender.
  • If you’re in a group and are sent an email from the group email address that involves only you and the member of the group sending the email, don’t automatically respond to the group email; reply only to the person who sent it to you, using that person’s private email address, not the group address.
  • Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of Social Media, suggests keeping things simple when it comes to email. “One topic per email. It’s better to send three short emails about different topics than to send one long email with three unrelated topics.”
  • Think like Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. If you’ve been watching The Crown on Netflix, you’ll know what I am talking about. Just because you have a voice doesn’t mean you have to use it.

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