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Who is in, and Who is Out

Imagine attending a meeting, and all the participants but you, are contributing ideas to a discussion. You are clueless. Maybe you missed a conversation, or you did not read an email? There could be numerous reasons why you could not contribute during the meeting. One instance could be that you were not included in an email chain or not invited to a meeting.

Leaving recipients off unintentionally (or intentionally) from any form of communication can lead to confusion and misunderstanding between the team members. A little bit of proactive questioning can help avoid hits and misses. Ask these questions first:

  1. Who should and should not be on a meeting invitation?
  2. Who should and should not be on an email chain?

The obvious answer is: It depends

Next, ask these additional questions to finalize the list of recipients. Evaluate the responses before hitting the send button:

  1. What is the email or meeting topic?
  2. Would skipping a team member in an email or meeting lead to miscommunication?
  3. Will including all the team members make a few of them feel that the meeting was irrelevant to them?


You can answer the above questions by leveraging these options:

  • RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed) matrix: RACI matrix can be a great source of stakeholder information for global projects.

For example: List the Responsible parties under the To list or Required Attendees. List the Informed parties under the Cc list or Optional Attendees.

  • Working Agreement: No RACI matrix? An Agile team working agreement can come to the rescue. Define who are the core team members. Refer to this list when sending out any email communications or meeting invites.

Tip: Core team can be cross-functional with stakeholders across the organization.

  • Email distribution list: Say the team size is small (4 to 6 members) and there is no RACI matrix or working agreement, then create a distribution list that includes the email IDs of all the team members. It is less effort and error-proof when selecting a list instead of individual email IDs for sending any form of communication.
  • Instant messaging group chats: Most instant messaging tools allow the setup of groups. Create one for your team and post a message in the team chat. Plus, there are options for the recipients to acknowledge the chat message (emojis such as like, happy, celebrate, and such).

In conclusion, despite the ideas mentioned above, there are chances that someone is still left off an email chain or a meeting. Be a team player, reach out, and get them caught up. The crucial element is that the entire team is on the same page.

“We need to be on the same page and not play the blame game” – Nate Heying.

Divya Kishore

Business Systems Analyst for a medical device company. Certifications: CSCP CPO