How many of you have been ignored by a prospect, co-worker, friend, supervisor, invitee, stranger and/or fellow traveler? Ignored meaning no response from a question in an e-mail or text? a phone call? a note on the desk? a wave on the walking/running/biking path? I know I have, and it sometimes gives me pause: does the person who’s ignoring me really mean to put me in his/her “insignificant” file? I hope not, and yet, it sometimes feels that way.
I have a friend who more than 50 percent of the time doesn’t bother to answer my questions that I pose on email or text. Why? As a child I was brought up to be not only courteous – okay, sometimes that courtesy falls through the cracks – but also aware of other’s feelings. (Though I’m not responsible for how someone else feels, I do know that my behavior, actions or inactions have consequences that may be negative or hurtful.) Are manners and common courtesy obsolete in 2013? If so, can we bring them back? Please.
In the age of mobile phone numbers and email addresses, as well as land lines being open to every person and her sister, I only recognize – call, text, email back – people whom I know. If I answer the phone for an unidentified caller ID, I may not be as affable or courteous as I need to be… bad habit, and I give them some time or tell them – politely – to take me off their caller list. (I hate to give up those free Bahama cruises though!) I do get back to people who ask questions though. How hard is it to answer an email, text or phone question through either of the three channels? How long does it take to say, “I’ll be at your office at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow,” when asked in a communication? or “Yes, I have all the information I need.”? Sales calls are ubiquitous, and I probably only get back to 25 percent or so of strangers wanting to sell me office equipment, supplies or potato chips. But I hope my percentage is three or four times higher with people whom I know and work with. What’s your response ratio with either or both internal or external communication?
In a world of social media, it ceases to amaze me that I can look at the 17 or more people on Facebook during a work day hour, and yet, I can’t get someone to type a simple sentence. Is it only me? What’s a solution?
Solution: If you’re traveling – here or overseas – you have an excuse for at least 48 hours…maybe. If you’re in your office and just ignore the request, then think about how you feel when someone ignores your request; get back to the person within a few hours of reading an email – or defer or delegate it – and within seconds of reading a text. We’re all – yes, I finally include me here – text savvy and can type with our thumbs faster than the checker at the super market can ring up those potato chips. And yet, some just ignore the communication. It doesn’t have to be a question either.
If you send me a card, a picture, a link, an information piece, does it take you long to write, “thanks”? When you acknowledge me, I feel valued and appreciated. I feel that my time, my request, my link, picture, file, etc. meant something of value to you.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe my circle of influence – friends, family, co-workers, clients, prospects, etc. – are too busy, too consumed, too forgetful, or too bothered by emails, texts and phone calls. But, alas, that’s the way we communicate now: internet, speed and mistakenly spelled words.
R U going 2 ignore this?