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NEVER Reply to an eGroup Post!

Copyright (c) 2004-2018

eGroups are collections of people subscribed to a common (discussion list) address. When one member sends an eMail message to the eGroup address, it is automatically sent to everyone else on the list. As subscribers open and read their eMail, discussion threads take shape with additional posts and replies. The attraction of eGroups is the ability to join in at your convenience as opposed to the confinement of live chat rooms.

There are hundreds of thousands of eGroups in cyberspace and their purpose is not all social. Many trade associations and industry groups use them for communication and idea sharing.


OOPS

Almost daily, a well meaning eMail discussion group (eGroup) subscriber pushes the WRONG button and the world sees a reply that was meant to be a private message for one.

It is an easy trap. Most eMail users embrace the convenience of the REPLY button and have used it many times with no backlash. A typical eGroup message shows the sender's name on the screen, just like a direct eMail, but the actual "sent from" address is the eGroup server. Using REPLY appears to be the natural way to reply directly to the sender. WRONG.

For example a post might ask "Does anyone know Bif and Buffy down at the Twist and Shout? I'm thinking about going to work for them." The biggest eMail Discussion Group error (and the most embarrassing) are replies sent to the whole group (via the reply button) instead of a private message to the person who sent the post.

Hitting reply to the Bif and Buffy question and answering "they are NOT nice people. They can't keep a staff and the IRS is all over them and I heard Buffy has a drug problem.." can be more than embarrassing as everyone on the list reads the reply instead of just the sender. The solution is to send a private response to the question, specifically addressed to the sender, far away from the eGroup address.


eGroup REPLY Goes To Everyone

To send a private message you MUST address it yourself or pull the address from your address book.

This is doubly difficult because the address of the sender is usually not easily found. Forget about looking in your eMail address book if the eGroup is a large one (many have hundreds even thousands of subscribers). So you have to pick through the IP headers in the message and sort out the actual sender from the eGroup sender.

Even more frustrating is that most eMail programs are set by default to NOT DISPLAY all that header stuff. Before you can go looking you must sift through the commands to find how to "display all headers". There's a spot on the web that has instructions for finding the headers in almost 40 different eMail programs, including web-based eMail. http://www.abika.com/Reports/Samples/emailheaderguide.htm

If you are lucky, the poster has used a SIG file to automatically put his/her eMail address at the end of every message (away from the header). If the eMail address is displayed with the mailto: option, all you do is click on the mailto: address and your eMail program will automatically address a blank message to that address. Don't get your hopes up: less than 21% of eGroup members have and/or use a SIG file.


Avoid the ULTIMATE EMBARRASSMENT

There are a number of ways to avoid sending the RIGHT message to the WRONG people. First and foremost, you must learn to use restraint. Keep your emotions in tow. Once you press the SEND button, there is no turning back. Donít say anything in ANY eMail message you would not say face to face. Donít say something to one person about another that you would not say to the other face to face. If you make a disparaging remark and press the wrong button, the person defamed can read it, too.

If you read an eGroup post that strikes you as just a little too critical, or one you think seems a little too offensive, chances are that you're misinterpreting the intent of the sender. Perhaps a message that you are taking seriously was intended to be taken sarcastically!

Haste-Before-Send will only serve to dump fuel on a fire of what could potentially become a "flame war," with combatants engaging in pointless verbal warfare, usually as the result of a misinterpreted message or an undiscriminating author. Or worse, destroy a relationship or relationships. Worse yet, get you embroiled in a legal tangle with words like "libel" and "slander" bantered about. You can train yourself to use restraint.


Make a rule! NEVER USE REPLY IN AN eGROUP Always Send a NEW Message

With this rule in place, you will always have a choice of sending your message to the entire group or just the sender. You make the decision when you select the TO address. You can't make that decision when you use REPLY.


Compose Off-Line

Develop the habit of writing your eMail messages off-line (use your word processor). This eliminates the sub-conscious need for speed (the line is open, hurry-hurry). Copy and paste the entire message that deserves your reply into your word processor as the base for your reply. Delete most of it as you form your reply, leaving enough of the original eMail in your newly composed message to tie yours to the original. Once ready to send, you can highlight and save the message to the clipboard (CTRL+A then CTRL+C) and paste it into your eMail message space (CTRL+V). This gives you even more time to ponder any venting in your reply.


Use The Queue

Do even more by telling your eMail program to put all outgoing messages in a queue. When you press SEND the messages are stacked up to be sent at a predetermined time (every so many minutes, or when you close or open your program). The queue gives you a last chance to change your mind.

In Outlook Express (the most popular eMail program because.. "it came with the computer") you can turn on the queue by clicking on TOOLS then OPTIONS then SEND and UNCHECK the SEND MESSAGES IMMEDIATELY box. Other eMail programs have similar commands.


Always use a SIG

You can make it easy for people to reply to your message without using the reply button by creating a SIG (signature) file for every outgoing message. One to five lines. Look int he HELP section of your eMail program.

You can read all about how to create signature files in a free article written by me and posted on many websites. Get your own free copy by sending a blank eMail to my Idea Robot (Idea-Bot). You get the detailed steps to create your own SIG file for all the popular eMail programs. mailto:SigFile@BigIdeasGroup.com

Be sure the SIG file you create includes your name and eMail address and a mailto: command. Just type mailto: before your address and hit enter at the end of your address to make it work. Putting a mailto: in your SIG file will assure anyone who wants to reply to you will do so with a private message addressed only to you and not the entire discussion group

Go ahead and try it, click on my mailto: command and see how it opens a blank eMail message already addressed for you to get the SIG file article mailto:SigFile@BigIdeasGroup.com

If you design a generic signature file, with your eMail address, it can be used for all your eMail, not just those posts to discussion groups. Some eMail programs let you have multiple SIGs, using one as the default, unless you specify another for a single message

Train yourself to NEVER use reply, you can avoid the embarrassment of sending the right message to the wrong people, or sending a message filled with flames.


FREE eWorkshop

You can subscribe to an eWorkshop on the efficient use of eMail. This series of seven workshops is totally free. Each week you will receive another eWorkshop to help you become more efficient with eMail.

This eWorshop was created for those unable to attend my live "7 eMail Habits of Highly Effective People" live stage presentation. Feel free to offer this series of eWorkshops to friends and colleagues. To subscribe, use my mailto: link to send a blank eMail. mailto:7habits@sendfree.com




About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
©2004 BIG Mike McDaniel, Professional Speaker and Former Major Market TV News Anchor. The BIG Ideas Group helps small business grow with mastermind groups, seminars and sales training. mailto:Mike@BIGIdeasGroup.com http://BIGIdeasGroup.com

Subscribe to "BIG Mike's BIG Ideas" Newsletter mailto:subscribe-956603364@ezinedirector.net

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Last Distribution Date:
2006-05-07 19:28:22

Internal ID: #2061





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