Senders can use a few little tricks to avoid shipping out an accidental reply
At some point in our professional lives, we’ve all been caught in that dreaded “email storm”.
It begins when one recipient deliberately hits Reply-All to a group email and other staff chime in, setting off a silly – if not annoying – email thread.
It’s a different story, though, when the sender accidentally shares private information with an unintended distribution list, or leaves an embarrassing detail in what should otherwise be a professional-sounding company missive.
These are the perils of modern workplace communication.
David Pogue of The New York Times recently compiled his readers’ Reply-All horror stories and found some “devious dodges” people use to “avoid reputational ruin”.
If, for instance, you’ve made an embarrassing mistake in a group message, send the correct version four times so as to draw recipients’ attention away from the incorrect one, a reader recommended.
In some cases, you can try to “pivot into humour” by asking an office friend included in the list to respond to the group with a funny remark such as, “Great story, thanks for the update,” to lighten things up, another reader suggested.
If you prefer to use a more straightforward approach, you can simply send another Reply-All to say you’re sorry for the mistake, others said.
For good measure, senders can use a few little tricks to avoid the Reply-All blunder:
- Disable the Reply-All button whenever necessary and if your email service allows it.
- Always enter email addresses last and double-check your list of recipients before sending.
- Install an email plugin that delays the send-out for about a minute after you click “Send”.
- If you’ve already sent the wrong email, recall it immediately – that is, if your recipients use the same email service as you.