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Nothing good comes from reply all

Hi, this is Cyril from Work Smarter, Live Better. In this video I want to share a few simple suggestions to challenge something we all do which creates massive volumes of what I call unnecessary emails.

A few months ago I was in a lounge in Chicago after working with a few clients in the US. I’m waiting for my next flight and the man sitting in front of me with his laptop on his knee caught my attention. Actually, it was the sticker on the back of his laptop: ‘Nothing good comes from reply all’….

In the space of 30mn, three people stopped after reading the sticker and had a chat with him. One even said, “This is brilliant, where can I find this? I need to distribute to all my team.” I loved it as well, a simple message to share with the people you work with.

Nothing good comes from reply all.

Email has become a big problem for a lot of us. People are receiving on average 70/80 emails a day. Some of my clients are receiving three, four, 500 emails per day. So I think it’s worth thinking of how we send emails and how we reply to emails. If you receive an email and you hit reply all, and there’s ten people attached to it and each person spends three minutes looking at the email you’ve replied, you’ve invested 30 minutes of productivity of the business. It has an impact.

Times this by the number of times we’re doing it, it really has an impact on our productivity. So my advice is actually the advice from this sticker, nothing good comes from reply all. What do I mean?

Number one, think who needs to be included and do you need to reply to all or only to a few people?

Number two, make a difference from the “to” and the “CC”. Us To if the person needs to do something, need to do an action. CC is just for information, nothing to do.

Number three, probably the most important advice, be super clear how you write the email. Start with the reason why you’re sending this email.

I quite often start my email and say:

Hi all,

@ Josh, this is for action, could you do this?

@ Jilord, this is for your information.

@ Sue, this is also only for information.

At the beginning of the email I really clarify why I have included all those people, then I’ll tell the story. The result: it will not only reduce the number of emails you’re sending by not replying to all but also it will make it super clear to everyone why they have received this email.

Let’s all think a little bit more carefully when we send emails. Who do we send it to, is it a “to” or a “CC” and on top of that, how do we phrase the start of the email, so everyone will understand it clearly?

This is this week’s Work Smarter, Live Better tip.  Hope you enjoy it.

You have a lovely day.


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