Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Email Time Reduction Tip#3

I've recently had to deal with one person who over-used Reply All and one who just could not seem to grasp this feature. Both folks probably cause huge wastes of time among their e-mail recipients, all the time. Like the daydreamer who drives no faster than 40 MPH on the onramp to the 65 MPH freeway, their actions cause problems for everyone but them.

Reply All over-use. In the one case, this person replied to the basic message of my e-mail, and everyone got a copy. So far, so good. But then he added additional topics that didn't concern most of the recipients. So now those folks had to either assume they were part of the new conversation or they had to ask for clarification.

Failing to use Reply All. A customer needed technical support. I work in sales, and the person I cc:d is the technical expert for this product. I had replied to the customer's initial inquiry and noted he needed to Reply All so our technical guru would get the messages and I would simply remain in the loop. But every time he wrote, he wrote only to me. This meant I had to forward the message to our technical guy and once again remind the customer who could provide the necessary assistance and how he could make sure that happened. With time zone differences, this also causes unnecessary delays.

When to use Reply All. Use this method only when three conditions are all met:

  • The message applies to everyone on the list ("the list" being the address of the recipients in the "To" and "cc:" fields).
  • Everyone on the list has given permission for everyone else on the list to have their e-mail address.
  • You agree that it's OK for any person on the list to respond to the entire list.

If your e-mail does not meet all three of the above conditions, then choose from:

  • Use Reply All, but delete those addresses to your message does not apply.
  • Use Reply All for that portion of your message which does meet all three conditions, and write a separate message for content that does not--sending it only to the appropriate people.
  • Use the bcc: method.

Sending e-mail properly--whether Reply All, cc:, or bcc:--simply requires a little planning and consideration. By reducing confusion and heading off potentially huge problems, it can save you--and everyone else--quite a bit of time.


Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.