Please, please do not ‘Reply All’

I’m old enough to remember a time when we did not have e-mail. So I can clearly see the benefits that it has brought to communication. It also a burden, mainly because it is cheap.

deleteHow many e-mails do you receive each day that you automatically delete?

The delete button is my best friend. The first step in my workflow is to decide if an e-mail (or incoming piece of paper) can be deleted.

This week I have experienced two of my pet e-mail peeves. Earlier this week a colleague sent me an e-mail about an urgent, time sensitive matter. The problem with this is that I do not sit and wait for the thrill of a new e-mail arrival. I process e-mail in batches – at set points in the day. So for most of the working day I close down my e-mail software. Urgent matters require a walk along the corridor or a phone call. I know it seems like dated technology but talking to someone is a powerful communication tool with built-in feedback.

My other pet peeve is the use of the reply all button. I can’t be the only one who thinks this function should be disabled from all e-mail software.

I know this will shock some people, but I don’t care if you’re available for the meeting unless I’m the one organising it; and I’m not interested in your comments on the paper unless I’m the author or editor.

Please stop it! Think about the recipients. They have plenty of e-mail to deal with already. If 20 people are asked about their availability for an event and they all ‘reply all’, that’s 380 unnecessary e-mails to be dealt with. It’s expensive and frustrating and completely pointless.

Please, please do not ‘reply all’.

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