Friday, January 29, 2010

Reply All

In the corporate world, emails are common, so is the 'Reply All' syndrome. This post is inspired by a 'Reply All' email that said, "Unable to access the files" in response to one of yesterday's emails.

I am not in the management ladder as yet, but work has been keeping me very tied up for the last whole week. This morning, I logged in to quickly check my emails and see this very IMPORTANT email. [ Sorry about being so loud.. I really did not think that email was important.]

I glanced through the thread briefly and understood that some files were posted yesterday and an email has been sent to all the concerned people, including the members of the senior management who really do not even have time( is it 'take time??'.. lets rest this argument for the moment...) to eat three meals a day and have a good night's rest.

One of the recipients has attempted to access the file immediately after seeing the email and found an access issue. So, he has just clicked 'Reply All' as is the practice in corporates for all emails that involve some discussion or decision. [For most job profiles in software, email shuttles and automated email notifications make or break your day to say the least. If I had any doubt about 'Habit is second nature' proverb, it gets confirmed by such simple instances in a single work day. ]

Ideally, this person must have written to the sender and the sender could have sent another email to the same group with the correction in the file location, if that was what had caused the access problems. Well, there is no " Must have" or "Could have" in life, and I guess that is why I am writing this post.

Although it seems like we know emailing from the time we got introduced to the Internet, I guess, it does need some decisions in place before we hit the 'Send' button.

Here is one point I can think of right away.

Does the world need to know about the message you want to convey? If and only if 'Yes', click the 'Reply All' button.

All your recipients may be occupied much more work and thoughts than you think they are. Although it just needs to be deleted from their mail box, if it is not a very important keep sake message, it DOES take that half a second time. I agree people are comfortable spending (wasting, if I may say that) a lot of time, I am not sure if they will be happy to read an email that is totally pointless to them in the given context.

In the file share case that we are talking about, none of the management team needs to really know that the files are not accessible. There are about 30 people marked in this email; Only one person can really do something about it.. that is the sender.

The next time you write back to an email, think twice if you need to 'Reply' or 'Reply All', to thwart some corporate fireworks in some people's minds on their relatively 'not-so-good' days.


Anonymous said...

Good point, I heartily concur

Narayana Swamy K said...

one certainly needs to be careful while churning out a mail.. A sent mail cannot be 'unsent'!

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