When it comes to e-mail conversations amongst a group folks, whether it be business e-mail or personal, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Most importantly, think long and hard before clicking “Reply to All”. Unless “all” needs to be aware or cares about your comments — which is usually not the case — one should remove any e-mail addresses of those that don’t need, don’t know or who you know wouldn’t be interested in your comments.
Then, you add to the mix that many do not make the effort to learn how to down-edit e-mails when involved in ongoing conversations, and you have an increased opportunity for miscommunications. When readers have to weed through all the back-and-forths to find any new comments, the conversation loses its focus and overall value.
Follow these 3 simple tips when you find yourself involved in an ongoing back-and-forth e-mail conversation with multiple recipients:
1) Use Reply to All sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. The majority of times, editing down the list of addresses to those who your comments directly apply to is recommended.
2) Always down-edit ongoing conversations to include only the information or comments from the previous e-mail(s) that is required for the clarity of the continuing conversation or that you are specifically replying to.
3) If the overall topic of the conversation takes a new direction, do change the Subject field to note the new focus. For example: Subject: Trip Details and Links WAS: Where should we go?
Just three little steps to help add clarity to your ongoing e-mail conversations!