Have you ever been included in an endless string of emails that do not apply to you?

If so, you have experienced the misuse of Reply All.

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Reply All Basics

When an email is sent to a group of people, it starts a thread. People can choose to Reply or Reply All to the original message.

  • Reply: sends a response to one person

  • Reply All: sends a response to everyone on the email thread

When To Use Reply All

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Only use Reply All if at least one of the following is true:

  • Your response will directly impact everyone in the email thread.

  • Your response will help everyone clear up a misunderstanding.

  • The sender of the email requested everyone to Reply All with a response.

  • You have a question related to the email that you feel everyone would benefit from.

When Not To Use Reply All

Did you notice how distracted the people were in the video? This is what happens in our email inbox when Reply All is used inappropriately.

These hints indicate that Reply All should NOT be used:

  • Your response is only relevant to a small group of the email thread. For example, you have a question for a work partner about how they feel about the email.

  • Your response is not directly related to the content of the email. For example, you have a funny joke or video to share.

  • Your response is a generic response, like "Great, thank you!"

Help Mario Decide!

Read the scenarios below to help Mario decide which email is appropriate for a Reply All response.

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A. Mario's coworker just received a promotion. He would like to congratulate her.

B. His daughter's teacher reminds all parents of the field trip. He would like to remind her that he will be a chaperone.

C. Mario's boss wants everyone on the team to know what others are working on. Mario needs to respond by telling about his current project.

D. There is an upcoming fire drill in his building. He wants to thank the sender for the information.

Quiz

In which email scenario should Mario Reply All?

D

C

A

B

Summary

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Next time you are faced with the decision to Reply or Reply All, think carefully about the purpose and intended audience of your response. To reduce email clutter and frustration, only use Reply All if necessary.

Keep your inbox happy!

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This Byte has been authored by

JV

Jane Varner

Learning Designer