The recent arrival of one of Randall Dean’s (The Email Sanity Expert) Timely Tips was perfect timing. His tip on how best to use or not use “Reply All” arrived shortly after reading a long chain of Reply All emails. The majority of replies didn’t involve me, but I took the time to sort through and determine if I needed to take action. Mostly the responses just clogged my email and took valuable time to read.
Randall provided some very simple and efficient ways to deal with the issue. His main point was to think before hitting that Reply All button. At SMZ, we do like to think. In fact, we like to listen first, then think, then do. Before hitting the Reply All button, think about what is required of you in the email. Do you even need to respond? And if you do, does your response really need to include all the initial recipients? If not, remove them. If so, be clear, concise and to the point.
Another of Randall’s tips that I follow is when forwarding an email you should tell the recipient why you’re forwarding it to them and what action you’re requesting of them. Just saying FYI doesn’t cut it.
In addition, I’d suggest when forwarding emails to make sure you look back and read it from the beginning. Is all the previous email information important and does it all need to be forwarded or should you delete some? When I get a forwarded email, I scroll down and read the communication from the beginning, not just the most recent message. I’ve found that some of the details aren’t meant to circulate outside an inner circle.
In today’s multi-task work environment, email is an awesome tool when used efficiently. It’s worth taking the time to be careful when you write and who really needs to see it. Sometimes the best reply is to … not reply.
What tips would you add?
Mary Bridget Gielow, VP/Management Supervisor