Home > Office Mistakes > Office Mistake #2: Reply All When You Didn’t Want to Reply All…

Office Mistake #2: Reply All When You Didn’t Want to Reply All…


We’ve all done it, right?.  Hit reply all when we really didn’t want to reply all.  Please tell me I’m not the only one.  Most of the time it makes people laugh.  Sometimes it hurts peoples feelings.  Sometimes it can get you fired.  I’ve seen it happen at work.  I’ve seen it happen on campus.  And I’ve also done it myself.  So, I’d like to share with you some reply all stories that I’ve come across.

I personally have a habit of using reply all because I like to keep people in the loop.  It’s always important, especially in the work setting, to keep people on the email chain so they stay informed.  It can be a good habit or a bad habit, depending on the situation.  I hate when people forget to use reply all, then call you two days later to see why you haven’t done what they wanted you to do.  Well duh, I had no idea because you didn’t copy me!  On the other hand, I’ve made the mistake of using reply all when I shouldn’t have.  I remember one time replying to an email with a funny joke about the original sender.  I didn’t want the original sender to see the joke, but since I replied all, he saw the joke.  Luckily, he thought it was funny and I didn’t get in trouble.

About a month ago, I got an email from the University that was sent to all undergraduate and graduate students of the University regarding new fees that will be tacked onto our tuition.  About 30 minutes later, one of the students replied all (yes, replied to every student of the University).  Fortunately, the email didn’t say anything, other than the fact that it was sent from a Smartphone.  It was probably just an accident, no harm done, but I’m sure it made everyone laugh and shake their head from left to right like I did.

So how do you prevent yourself from making the mistake of replying all when you don’t want to?

1. Don’t talk smack behind people’s back.

First off, you shouldn’t be saying things about people that you wouldn’t want to say to their face.  If you’re drafting up an email and you don’t want a particular person to see it because it might be insulting or hurtful, don’t send it.  Just because the person you’re talking smack about doesn’t see it, doesn’t mean your IT department isn’t screening emails.

2. Use spell check.

I’ve found spell check to be a great way to catch myself before I accidentally reply all (or forget to include an important person on the email).  But, you have to take spell check seriously.  I’ve done it a number of times; been in a hurry and just skipped through my spell check only to realize after it finished that I replied all!  When the spell check box pops up, look at the address section of the email.  Make sure your email is going to the correct people before sending it.

Video Credit

Related Articles:

Email Checklist – Seth Godin

Reply All Horror Stories: The Button Everyone Loves to Hate – Wall Street Journal
Rules for Using the ‘Reply All’ Button – Gawker

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  1. Johne822
    July 14, 2014 at 1:03 AM

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