December 11, 2020

How to Reply to an Email

“Communication works for those who work at it.”
— John Powell

Email is one of the most important communication tools we have in the modern world, but like any tool, you can misuse it if you’re not careful. Here are my suggestions for replying to emails.

  1. Don’t just hit reply-all every time. Sometimes it is more appropriate to reply to the sender or a subset of the original group. Do everyone a favor and make sure you’re not wasting their time.

  2. Double-check the subject. Is it still a valid subject line? Often, someone will “reply-all” to an old topic to capture the correct group of emails. If the subject isn’t useful, change it.

  3. Write your reply in a separate editor. This way you don’t accidentally send it before you’re ready. You can copy-and-paste after you’re satisfied.

  4. Check your spelling and grammar. If this message is really important, have someone else read it and give you feedback before you send it. At the very least, read it out loud to yourself.