Type “email etiquette” into the search bar of any popular internet search engine and you’ll get over 1 million hits. Because email is used so broadly, it poses certain trouble for the professional who is trying to communicate well. Some of those over 1 million hits will tell you the advantages of using email to conduct your business since it is a quick and efficient form of communicating. However, email is usually the least preferred approach to communicating by many readers.
Knowing that, I wish to address among the many options of email–the “Reply All” function. By using this function carefully can help you protect and improve your professional credibility and stop you from alienating your potential customers–especially those who don’t like email to begin with.
I’m part 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. Way too frequently, recipients of this group message will react to the sender by showing up in the “Reply All” function. The situation with this is all their “can do,” “got it,” and “thanks” responses wind up in my Inbox becoming clutter I actually have to examine and delete.
The “Reply All” function should be reserved for when all individuals the recipient list require the information being sent. Let me say that again, reserve the “Reply All” for when ALL members have to have the responder’s answer. In how many cases must you realize that one of many recipients said “okay”? Not often. Instead, in the interest of energy, efficiency, and professionalism this sort of response should be sent simply to the individual 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 being a carefully chosen choice is poor communication because it clutters our inboxes with information we don’t need. When we consider that every “Reply All” is some paper on our desks, would we wish those responses? Absolutely not. We’d be buried in paper!
Certainly, “Reply All” has its own uses. In a collaborative project where all individuals the team must be kept apprised from the goings-on of staff, using “Reply All” will be the right thing to do. This is especially important in the event the team works remotely or when people in the team focus on opposite shifts or don’t see the other person frequently. Then using “Reply All” is great communication because it keeps the lines of communication open and moving. Yet, I caution judicious use of the “Reply All” function.
We have another excellent reason to make use of the “Reply All” function judiciously and that concerns the functioning of any unit as a team. Using “Reply All” well can increase a team’s ability to function by keeping communication open, thereby helping the company reach its goals. However, using “Reply All” can also be used being a weapon and become destructive skrfil a team relationship. Without a doubt a tale to assist you understand this.
I’ve been utilizing a company which has had quite a bit of internal strife for a number of reasons. In an effort to be a little more supportive, the president in 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 business better. It was a responsive, proactive action to take on the area of the president. Here’s what went down next: another of the president’s staff members hit “Reply All” and said “Don’t forget that Jane did her part, too.”
To the casual observer this exchange may not seem to be a large deal. But while that message might seem innocuous, it conveys testiness as well. The staffer’s reply was created not only to acknowledge Jane but to “show” all of those other staff that this president didn’t truly know what was going on in the organization. The fact that the staffer sent the “Reply All” to acknowledge Jane experienced a subversive intent, and this ended up being to expose the failings of the president. The president then scrambled to offer Jane the proper acknowledgement and sent another message via “Reply All” acknowledging Jane’s contribution. The effect: the president was put on the defensive before her entire staff. Not really a good position for any leader to be in.