Why You Should Always Use "Reply to All" in Your Mail Client

in Business, Culture by Piotr on February 21st, 2017

This is a nightmare. A horror. Why? I feel that in 2017 people still don't know how to answer email messages! Yes, they don't see or just don't know (!) that in every mail client there's a "Reply to all" button they should click, instead of replying to just one person.

I want to be an evangelist in this matter. I don't mean to force you, but I can show you the reasons behind my "reply to all" thinking.

Mailing lists

First of all - in DeSmart we have a ton of mailing groups. What are they? I mean public addresses like hello@desmart.com or work@desmart.com, where not just one, but a couple of people are assigned to receive such emails. So, instead of sending a message to everyone who is responsible for the recruitment process (and remembering their email addresses), you send one email to work@desmart.com, and it is forwarded to certain people automatically.

It also works fine when we reach out to a candidate personally (i.e. I'm the one who sends the email), and I almost automatically add work@desmart.com in the CC field. This time my message is forwarded to the receiver (a candidate), but my colleagues are also notified that I've sent an invitation for a job interview.

The candidate answers and, believe me, it is so common that he does not hit the "reply to all" button. In result that I'm the only recipient of this email. That's not so bad, you could say, at least he answered :) That's true, unless I'm not in the office and cannot answer. Or maybe one person is responsible for the first contact with a candidate, but later it is handled by somebody else? This way, the second person has no way of knowing the email arrived.

A list of friends

Not only mailing lists benefit from the "reply to all" function. Let's imagine that you are writing to your friends about the trip on the next weekend. You put those who already agreed to go into "TO" field in your email client. But you decide to notify also other friends, just by adding them to "CC" field.

And now, if everyone in that thread continued to reply to all, that would work fine, as expected. But if just one person omits that and sends a response only to those who are listed in "TO" field… You know what will happen, right? :)


I don't use any other mail clients than Gmail these days, but I could easily find dozens of examples that using "reply to all" is not an issue in any of them.

Gmail, however, has made it even easier for us. In the settings, you will find an option that sets a "reply to all" as the default.

I recommend setting it to "Reply to all" as the default.

Be careful!

Of course, there are situations when you don't want to reply to everyone. Let's say you want to give some advice to your friend, but don't want anyone else to "overhear" what is meant to be a private message. Then, you need to carefully check the fields "TO" and "CC", and remove those additional addresses you don't want to include.

Generally speaking - it's a good habit to double check what you are sending and to whom :)

From now on I expect you to:

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