How To Take Back “Reply All”

You’re sitting at your desk responding to one of the hundred emails your client sent you… that morning. Before you respond to his multitude of questions, you want to run your response by your colleagues. You forward it with a quick intro: “check this b4 i send 2 kl&co!” Only instead of forwarding the email to your co-workers, you hit reply all and it ended up in the client’s inbox too!

We spend a majority of our day on our computers; and replying to emails can take up a big portion of the day. Eventually, just because of sheer volume, you’ll probably make a mistake at some point in your life– whether it’s sending an email to an unintended recipient to a simple grammar blunder.

Here are a few tips that will help you diffuse the situation if you ever mistakenly hit “reply all:”

Undo Send

If this isn’t reason enough to use Gmail, I don’t know what is. Notice a spelling error in your email after you sent it? Accidentally hit “reply all?” This awesome Gmail feature, allows you to unsend an email. If only life were so easy!

Explain Your Critiques

If your critique of a colleague accidentally winds up in their inbox, don’t hide from your statement. Explain your feelings and back it up with sound examples.


Own your mistake – and do it in person, especially if you offended a co-worker. Be thoughtful in your apology and avoid insincere language. Take full ownership of your mistake, especially in the workplace, as your reputation and personal brand are on the line.

Find the Good

“Reply all” emails can often cause a lot of problems; but on occasion they can be a good thing. Perhaps tensions are running high between two co-worker’s intra-team emails; a good manager would recognize this is a great opportunity to bring the cohort together to discuss the project and work on team building exercises.

Under no circumstances should you tell everyone to ignore your email, pretend it was a joke, hide until it’s “over” or start insincerely begging for forgiveness.

Unintentionally hitting “reply all” is a nightmare we’ve all had and most have experienced. What did you do when you found yourself in that situation?


About Yellow Brick Road Coaching, LLC

Fully Credential by the International Coach Federation, Certified by the founding pillar, Coach Training Institute as a Success Coach and Speaker.
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