>To Reply or Not to Reply – That is the Question……….


Recently a Facebook friend made a comment on her wall to please not  hit “reply all” when responding to an email. It seemed like a post of frustration, and I can certainly relate. Back in September, I posted about just this habit. Check it out at this link.  And remember unless you are working with a very small group of colleagues/friends, use “reply all” with caution.  If you get an email where you are in a bcc, it’s definitely not a good idea to use “reply all.”    Remember that sometimes the reason that a sender puts you in a “bcc” field is due to the large number of recipients.
  If you think email etiquette isn’t getting a lot of attention – think again.  A simple Google search returns nearly 2.5 million results!  Delving deep into the results returns a lot credible sites, blogs and papers about how we should approach email, giving us best practices when emailing – especially in the professional arena.
As a researcher at heart, I found it interesting that these sources covered a wide variety of industries and originated from the U.S., Europe, Australia,  and Asia.  So, I’d say, “yes, email etiquette still gets lots of attention as a global concern.  But do we use it in our day-to-day activities and what are some key things we should remember?

Back to what I said earlier about “bcc,” remember that it is not always necessary or recommended to advertise everyone’s address.  Use discretion when writing to a large group.   Rule of thumb: treat their addresses with the same amount of care that you would want your own treated. Be courteous.

Some other suggestions:

  • Watch your grammar – don’t get into “text or IM mode”
  • Don’t shout at your recipients, i.e. refrain from using ALL CAPS like this
  • Reply only if really necessary – think about it.  How many “ok” emails do you get or send??  Are they necessary?  Sometimes, yes, but not always
  • Use effective subject lines that define the content of your intended message
  • Keep your signature line to 4 lines or less
I am sure you can think of more suggestions.   And if you honestly can’t, do your own online search, and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of resources to help you.  One of the better articles I found was from Partner to Partner Advisory by Dana Casperson.  It is dated  October 2002 – and we’re still struggling with the same issues about email etiquette.  Go figure.
Send me your comments about your email issues.  I’d love to hear from you.


Filed under communication, text message, writing

13 responses to “>To Reply or Not to Reply – That is the Question……….

  1. >Christine, I can relate to this blog post especially as regards to email courtesy. Recently, I made the mistake of hitting the CC instead of the BCC button. As a result, numerous people were ticked off at me for "advertising" their email address, especially when they were private or even off bounds to others on the list.

  2. >Yes, Penelope. I think we have all done that. It is really important to be aware of this as it so easy to do this. I, for one, don't like my email advertised unless I have authorized it. I start getting deluged with marketing messages from all sorts of places. I think this has become a trend in the marketing world – to just use an address once you get a hold of it.Thanks for your comment, and I hope you will visit again. I will look for your blog too!

  3. >Very well written. I would love to be able to write like you…Your blog is very well done.

  4. >Thanks for reading and for leaving your comment. I will visit your blog as well.

  5. >Hi Christine:It makes me crazy when having an email "conversation" – that people never change the original subject line even after the original topic has become a distant memory in our rear view mirrors. (I say "our" because I have been guilty of it too!) Since we are all so busy, it helps if the subject line actually refers to the subject matter within the email!

  6. >i believe the reason the email etiquette is being lost is because of texting. texting format is very informal and that is bleeding into emails. emails are formal communications that should be business like. not only should be address email etiquette but also business writing.thank you for the piece on this and reminding all of us of just plain being polite to each other.http://www.thewritestuffpenandpaper.blogspot.com

  7. >TeriYes, I certainly agree that the subject line that goes on and on irritates me too. I think it is because we are always in a hurry and just hit "reply." That's an easy way to start a message, but it would only take us a few seconds to edit the subject line.Thanks for commenting and visit again soon!

  8. >to smcopywriteThanks for your comment. I totally agree that texting is the culprit. I think it is important to keep integrity in our business emails. As you point out, these should be treated as professional business mail and we certainly wouldn't write a letter to a business partner/associate/or client that way.Thanks for visiting. I am going to check out your blog right now!

  9. >Hi Christine, we are connected on LinkedIn! I think your blog is awesome and I found the information very interesting. I am following you and look forward to reading more! I hope we can get to know one another and become friends! Have an awesome week!

  10. >Thanks. This post has generated several comments telling me that this issue is of real concern to serious communicators!Thanks for visiting.

  11. >I so relate to this article. I have a friend that never clears his addresses in those long forwarded emails that no one should be sending anyway. You know your email is getting sent in the same manner. Spam is ripe for this topic. I also am in your Linkdin group of bloggers.

  12. >Thanks for your comment, Pam. Email etiquette is so important and yet so many forget about it. I think it goes back to our "instant society." Many people feel it is easier and faster to just "reply" to a message instead of starting a new message, and that may be true; but as you point out all you have to do is clear the addresses before sending and it keeps everyone's address from going and going and going!Nice to meet you on LinkedIn. I will visit your blog today!

  13. Pingback: More electronic etiquette – Voicemail | Words Etc Writing