"Reply All" is particularly well-named for the current arc, in which everyone is attending a mandatory workshop on communications.
"Replying" is one of the skills involved in active listening, which is a technique of continually interrupting people with obnoxious verbal tics in order to feign sincerity.
Here's a reminder from that above linked site that active listening takes an effort, because it is indeed more difficult to mimic verbal signs of listening and comprehension, but you can do it if you try hard enough.
I particularly enjoy talking to people who actively listen by interrupting to complete my sentences with complete non sequiturs as a verbal sign that I might as well be talking to the dog.
"And so the Transcontinental Railroad increased immigration ..."
"... because they needed track-layers."
"No, no, because the railway companies were given land-grants ... "
"... to build railroad stations."
Even if you're on the same page, it's still ... well, perhaps it will be easier to explain if we have Sheldon and Arthur demonstrate the technique:
And thank god I am a telecommuter these days, though I will admit that I attended fewer of these as an employee of the newspaper than I did as a reporter covering various chambers and industrial development groups, and far, far fewer than I did when I switched to educational work.
Education is a virtual La Brea Tar Pit of sessions where you break up into small groups, brainstorm things to write on sticky notes and then all come back together again to share.
In the corporate world, you're more apt to have sessions where people teach you how to be them, on the theory that, if you organized your desk and your email and your day the same way they do, you'd be as productive and valuable as they are.
Which is kind of funny on a couple of levels, the first being that they're like the people who write books about how to beat the house in Vegas, but who, if they had a plan that really worked, would be in Vegas raking in the chips, not hawking snake oil on infomercials.
Similarly, if these corporate presenters knew how to be productive and valuable, they'd be off doing something more productive and valuable than standing around in some conference room drinking lukewarm coffee and eating grocery store Danishes.
The second being that you'd be much more productive and valuable back at your desk working than you are sitting in a conference room drinking lukewarm coffee and eating grocery store Danishes and actively listening to a bunch of Power-Pointed psychobabble.
The joke, of course, being that hawking snake oil may not be productive or valuable but it is profitable, and that not only counts but is the only thing that counts anymore, which, in turn, is a lovely segue into ...
... Jen Sorensen's latest opus, which is refreshingly rural-friendly.
In an odd twist, according to her Wikipedia bio, Sorensen and I were -- I kid you not -- born 24 miles and 24 years apart, the difference being that, when I was born, there were coal and iron mines operating in the area, and by the time she was born, they were mostly closed and the region was in the process of converting to something more attuned to a modern economy.
It's not that "you can't make this stuff up." It's that you don't have to.
When I was a wee sprat, we moved from Pennsylvania to a very rural community in the Adirondacks that was supported by an iron mine and a paper mill.
But at the dawn of the '70s, as America shifted from producing things to producing profits, a leveraged buyout necessitated quickly extracting the richest vein from the mine as quickly as possible, closing it down significantly earlier than it would have, had the company continued to take the mix of rich- and medium-grade ore that had sustained things there for a century.
Then another group of stock-swappin' sharpies purchased the paper mill, in order, not to continue to produce the high-quality paper it had been making, but to obtain a valuable patent it held on that process, whereupon they shut it down.
With it went the last industrial jobs in a 60 mile radius, and nearly the only jobs at all.
Which is why this 1999 Arlo & Janis is one of my very favorite strips of all time and has been featured here before.
If you don't get the joke, let me explain it: Nobody gives a damn about sustaining a viable economy.
And they sure don't give a damn about you.