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By: Jennifer Devitt on March 9th, 2011

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Step away from the "Reply-All" button!

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Buttons! Yes, lot's of people like buttons! Buttons on remotes, buttons on controllers, buttons on websites and in software, buttons are everywhere.  Buttons go hand-in-hand with options, some people are more attracted to options than they are to buttons. Over use of buttons and option addiction combined can annoy even the most easy going person!

One of the biggest annoyances related to buttons and options has to be the one and only "Reply All" button on emails.  It seems there are certain people who just must hit that "Reply All" button, and do it all the time!  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of times when that cute little "Reply All" button is the best option. Shall we cover some of the pros and cons right now?

PROS of "Reply All" button:

  • Verification of times or important dates, pertinent to all original recipients.
  • Updating checklists or project timelines on group projects.
  • Providing additional information directly related to original email and all recipients. Such as directions, dates, times, locations, timelines, schedules, specific notes, etc.
  • Updating or adding information to the original email that affects ALL original recipients in an important way.

CONS of the "Reply All" button:

  • Inside jokes between a recipient and the original sender (I mean I love a good joke as much as the next person, but if I am out of the loop, it's annoying).
  • RSVPs. The entire list does not need to know if you are or not attending something (unless specifically requested. Items being provided by recipients may require a head-count).
  • Thank You's.  If you are thanking the original sender, that is wonderful.  But everyone does not need 15 similar Thank You emails clogging their box.
  • Complaints.  If you have a beef with the original sender, keep it between you and the sender.  Don't throw the sender under the bus by calling them out in front of all the recipients.
  • General Chit-chat.  Seriously, need to know basis isn't so hard, right?

I know sometimes a long back and forth chain of emails can be fun and a nice distraction from a long day. But, at the end of the day, we all have busy in-boxes. Wouldn't it be helpful if we all practiced some better email etiquette? Try to not use the "Reply All" button unless what you have to say directly affects all of the recipients.  Do you get a lot of REPLY ALL messages?  How do you handle them, ignore them, or do you have a witty response to sender?  Can you think of other Pros/Cons of using Reply All?  I would love to hear it!