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Banish Reply All Emails

Posted Monday June 17th, 2013, 8:02 am by

Reply All emails are the bain of most people’s inboxes.  Its been a recurrent themes during discussions this week.  Using Reply All shows lack of good email etiquette and drives up the email overload. The question is why do people take this option and how do we help them change their email behavior.   A kind view is that the offending recipient accidentally hit Reply All.  The less charitable view is to assume the offending recipient is trying to score points.Untitled

Banishing Reply All emails depends on good email etiquette from both the sender and recipients.

As a sender, how can you improve your email etiquette to manage and reduce the opportunities for people to hit hit Reply All?  There are three easy options:

  • Put all the recipients in the Bcc box rather than either the To or Cc line.
  • Challenge those who do ‘Reply All’; ask them why they chose this option.  They won’t be so quick to do it again.
  • For Outlook users, use an Expiry Date for time critical emails.  After their ‘sell by dates’ such emails will be greyed out which is a sign that the email no longer needs a reply.

As recipient, the message is simply, Reply only to the sender.  In addition there are two other options:

  • Build in a few minutes delay between hitting send and the email leaving your outbox (eg either through rules or manually)
  • For the more sophisticated user with Outlook 2007 upwards you can remove the Reply All button from your tool bar.

These are actions you can take as individuals and teams working together.  To completely banish the Reply All syndrome, requires good email culture and email etiquette policy across the organisation.  What does your corporate email best practice say about using Reply All?  What are the penalties for breaking the email best practice code?

Over the years Mesmo Consultancy’s Brilliant Email workshops have been instrumental in helping organisations banish the Reply All syndrome.  For more information on how we can help you and your organisation, please contact us now by phone or email.

Meanwhile, what suggestions do you have to banish Reply All emails and improve the email culture?

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  • Niraj Ranjan Rout

    Its definitely all about culture. Reply All, CCs and mailing lists are behind most of our email woes, and we still can’t get rid of them.

    I talked about why we CC, and why its so hard to get rid of them here: http://blog.grexit.com/cc-is-evil/