Type “email etiquette” into the search bar of any popular internet search engine and you’ll get over one million hits. Because email can be used so broadly, it poses certain problems for the professional who is trying to communicate well. Any of those over one million hits will tell you some great benefits of using email to conduct your business as it is a fast and efficient form of communicating. However, email is often the least preferred approach to communicating by many readers.
With that in mind, I want to address one of the numerous options of email–the “Reply All” function. Applying this function carefully will help you protect and boost your professional credibility and prevent you from alienating prospective customers–in particular 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 to the entire group offering information or delivering a reason for instruction. Much too frequently, recipients of the group message will respond to the sender by striking the “Reply All” function. The situation using that is actually all their “is going to do,” “got it,” and “thanks” responses result in my Inbox becoming clutter We have to sort through and delete.
The “Reply All” function needs to be restricted to when all members of the recipient list need the information being sent. Allow me to claim that again, reserve the “Reply All” for when ALL members require the responder’s answer. In how many cases must you understand that one of the recipients said “okay”? Not often. Instead, in the interest of your time, efficiency, and professionalism this type of response needs to be sent simply to the one who generates the first email.
You’ve read within my other articles that poor communication is the Number One problem in business. Hitting “Reply All” as a matter of habit and never as a carefully chosen option is poor communication since it clutters our inboxes with information we don’t need. If we consider that every “Reply All” is some paper on our desks, would we want all those responses? Absolutely not. We’d be buried in paper!
Certainly, “Reply All” has its own uses. In a collaborative project where all members of the group need to be kept apprised of the goings-on of associates, using “Reply All” is definitely the right thing to do. This is especially important when the team works remotely or when members of they focus on opposite shifts or don’t see one another frequently. Then using “Reply All” is good communication because it keeps the lines of communication open and moving. But again, I caution judicious utilisation of the “Reply All” function.
We have another excellent reason to utilize the “Reply All” function judiciously and this concerns the functioning of a unit as a team. Using “Reply All” well can increase a team’s ability to function by keeping communication open, thereby improving the company reach its goals. However, using “Reply All” may also be used as a weapon and be destructive skrfil a team relationship. Without a doubt a story to help you understand this.
I’ve been dealing with a company which has had a substantial amount of internal strife for a number of reasons. In an effort to be a little more supportive, the president from 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. It was a responsive, proactive action to take on the area of the president. Here’s what happened next: another in the president’s staff members hit “Reply All” and said “Don’t forget that Jane did her part, too.”
For the casual observer this exchange might not seem to be a big deal. But although that message might seem innocuous, it conveys testiness as well. The staffer’s reply was made not just in acknowledge Jane but to “show” the rest of the staff that the president didn’t actually know that which was going on inside the organization. The reality that the staffer sent the “Reply All” to acknowledge Jane enjoyed a subversive intent, which ended up being to expose the failings in the president. The president then scrambled to provide Jane the proper acknowledgement and sent another message via “Reply All” acknowledging Jane’s contribution. The result: the president was put on the defensive in front of her entire staff. Not really a good position to get a leader to remain.