When not to use Reply all

When NOT to use ‘reply all’ .

1. When your email address is in the ‘bcc’ field, which means that the sender of the email wanted to keep your email hidden from others, and did not want to disclose that he had sent a copy of the same email to you also.

So, if in an email, you were marked ‘bcc’, and you use the ‘reply all’ option, then the reply email will go to everyone,– including the people mentioned in the ‘to’ and ‘cc’ field. This can be a big mistake – because these were the people from whom you were kept hidden in the previous email. By selecting ‘reply all’ option, you would reveal that you were sent a ‘blank carbon copy’ of the earlier email. This can put the sender in a very uncomfortable situation.

For example – if your junior uses the ‘reply all’ option, then his reply email will be received not only by you, but also the client and your colleague, which can be embarrassing.

2. When your reply contains something personal: some personal comments and/or feedback or some confidential information or discussion.

For example – let’s say that you forgot to attach an important document in the first email, and your colleague, Amit, wants to remind you about it. Then Amit should click only on ‘reply’, because that way the email will only come to you.

But, if Amit clicks on ‘reply all’, then his reply email will be received by you and the client both, which will be quite inappropriate.

3. When your reply is relevant only to one person and no one else.

For example – if your client wants to know from you – who Amit is and for what purpose he is involved in this discussion, then the client should click only on ‘reply’ – because the question is only for you.

But, by mistake, if the client clicks on ‘reply all’, then the same reply email will also be received by Amit, which will be inappropriate.