Please Use "Reply All" in Group Emails

Posted by Paul on April 6, 2018

Ahh, email. You probably either love it, or hate it. Or both. Or neither! Anyway my point is that it's a double-edged sword. Elon Musk (the legendary Tesla CEO) himself has talked about how he finds the asynchronous nature of email very productive - sure enough you send an email whenever you want and the other person will be able to read it and respond whenever they want - win-win! No more phone tennis or trying and failing to schedule calls when you're both free at the same time - which is never!

But of course there are dark sides and arguably the biggest is that these days we're bombarded with emails from every angle like ... well no analogy instantly springs to mind but something that gets regularly and relentlessly bombarded from all angles. Not fun and often overwhelming!

In any business, usually more than one person will be working on a project and in that case it's rather good to have everyone copied in on the communication about the project. In that case these people can all be added to the "To" field or the "CC" (Carbon Copy") field and the email chain becomes like a group chat.

Usually (hopefully) the initiator of the email has carefully thought about who needs to be included in the discussion and copied them all in. So far so good!

The problem comes when someone who doesn't know about the "Reply All" button replies and just hits "Reply". In that case, only one person will receive the reply and everyone else will be cut out of the discussion. It's a bit like being in a group chat and then someone private messages you with a reply that is clearly about the project when everyone else should really see it too.

Suddenly it becomes your responsibility to make sure all the others know what's been said - sure you can reply and manually copy everyone back in, but it will take some time to look up who is on the original email and to manually add them all back in one by one.

It gets worse when the offender is oblivious to their mistake and only ever "Replies" and never "Reply Alls" and now to continue participating you are forced to reply yourself because the others won't have seen the email and you have to manually copy everyone in again which is sure to kill your email flow!

So, please, if you have been emailed by someone and there are multiple people copied in, unless you're sure you want to email just one person privately, always use "Reply All" and keep everyone involved!

What did you think of this article? Do you take the time to copy in a load of people, just for someone to remove them all by not using "Reply All"? Let us know in the comments!

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