It continually amazes me how many well-meaning, intelligent professionals hit the Reply All button on their emails without a second thought of who will be reading their response, if it is remotely relevant, or if it actually might cause a complete waste of time, multiplied by however many viewers it is sent on to.

My favorite, (or un-favorite) is the simple “Thank you.”  Risking being labeled a curmudgeon, how could anyone have a grievance against a show of gratitude? It sounds so polite and pleasant. But in reality, it is a horrible intrusion and rude imposition to blindly send a response (to a group of people) that is solely intended for somebody else. You could even say it’s dumb. Thoughtless, to say the least.

Meeting requests are equally poisonous. I get dozens of such requests each day, predictably followed by a plethora of blind responses stating, “Yes” or “Happy to be there” or “Count me in”.

And I care, why!?

I spend a good portion of my insane, daily email correspondence weeding through and trying to determine what is actually meant for me and what is not. I don’t even have time for my own email much less reading hundreds meant for someone else.

Granted, there is a time and a place for Reply All. And the encouraging part of this rant is that it only takes half a millisecond to think about who might receive your response and whether or not they need to. Or want to.

Along that line, the exact same argument could be made for making any response at all to a given email. Think first, Reply second. Otherwise it quickly becomes like the old telephone game we played as silly, love-sick teenagers. “You hang up first. No you hang up. No you. No you…”