Teaching to NOT Reply All

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August 17, 2019 by Ms. Barber

We’ve all dealt with it. A full school-wide (dare I say, district-wide) e-mail is sent out and someone replies with “Thanks.” To every person. Every single person on the list. And, it drives you crazy. If you’re very, very lucky, no one replies to the reply all message.

Here are four simple steps to help teach your school how to NOT Reply All.

1. Explain what the symbols mean.

Strangely enough, many edtech coaches recognize various symbols but we don’t always make sure that everyone else understands them. Sometimes creating a simple chart helps others to find the basic information they need.

2. Outlook365 Groups force Reply All.

Not everyone notices that within an Outlook Group (Office 365), you cannot NOT Reply All. Replying only to the sender is not an option within the Group. You can, of course, start a new email and comment to the sender, but no one does that. IF you have your Group set to also send to your Inbox, then you can go to your Inbox and find the same message. Now, your options include Reply to the Sender Only.

3. BCC:

If you are sending to an Outlook Group, it does not matter if you use the blind copy or not. It will still show up in the Group and still have only the Reply ALL option. If you are sending to several people or a list, then using BCC: prevents anyone from Replying All. The reply can only go to the sender.

4. Pause

Take a moment before you reply. Pause. Look at who it is going to. Does everyone on the list need it? Will the others become confused without this information? Sometimes, being polite, like saying “thanks,” is actually rude in email. Take a moment to decide before you reply.

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