You open your email and you read a note that was sent out to the entire staff.
Then, you sit back and wait for the first person to “reply all.” Eyes roll. People are thinking, “There it goes again.”
We wonder whether anything can be done about it. I don’t know that but I think I can offer some questions that might help you decide.
So to help my fellow teachers and communicators, ask yourself the following questions:
- “Does this need to go to everyone on the planet?” If the answer is no, DO NOT “reply all.”
- “Would this be better in a one-on-one conversation?” If the answer is yes, then DO NOT “reply all.”
- “If someone else sent this, would I roll my eyes when I read it?” If the answer is yes, then DO NOT “reply all.”
- “Would my response be labeled as an epistle, a manifesto or a chapter to a book?” If yes, then DO NOT “reply all.”
- “Am I pointing out a grammatical or spelling error?” Stop being the building’s “know-it-all” and DO NOT “reply all.”
- “Is my response about something that’s not even in the email?” Good, that is time to reply — I’m kidding, still DO NOT reply all. Seriously, DO NOT reply all.
- “Am I trying to get everyone’s attention with what I’m sending?” No matter your answer, DO NOT reply all.
- “Do I want my coworkers to make fun of me?” If yes, then, absolutely reply all.
- “Is this an emergency and I need help from anyone who reads this?” If there’s no other option and you can’t get to the phone, then, maybe, in this case, “reply all” might work.
Maybe this clears some things up when it comes to reply all.
If not, then do not reply all until you’ve had time to ask an expert on the subject.