The trouble with reply all

I remember a time when sending or receiving an email required the user to push a button in their email client or wait for the scheduled email check to run.   There is an inherit benefit to this old school methodology, you get the opportunity to prevent that “bad” email from going out.

Case in point.  Today I got a response to an email I had sent to two people.  The response was meant for the other person, oops.  There’s also the occasional message retraction request which unless you’re running on the same system, is utterly useless.

In my mind, both of these points highlight the speed by which we tend to communicate these days.  Sending an email, without necessarily looking at the details give way to our need for speed.  I’m not suggesting that we change how we work, but there are some options which can help us reduce these kinds of mistakes.  These options will vary, depending on the email system you use.  Personally, I use Google’s Gmail system which offers two options in its settings section.

google send settings for replying to messages

This image shows the Gmail settings associated with replying to a message.

The first setting is the “Default reply behavior” option.  This can be set to either “Reply” or “Reply All”.  Personally, I strongly recommend that you keep it as “Reply”.  You can always choose the “Reply All” option when sending the message out.

The second setting is the “Undo Send” option.  This is a really neat feature which will put an “undo” link at the top of your Gmail inbox after sending a message.  The undo link will be available for however many seconds you set it for.  For me personally, 10 seconds works well.

So there you have it.  Two helpful options for reducing mistakes when sending out an email message.


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