Have you ever sent an email or text, or left a message with someone and never heard back? You’re left hanging, wondering, “Did they get it? Are they ignoring me?”
I recently facilitated a discussion on Emotional Intelligence for a group of high-powered women consultants. One big issue was with colleagues and potential customers who did not respond to communications.
Particularly annoying was sending out a proposal and getting no response. After many meetings with the potential client, one woman had sent a proposal for a $300,000 project, which took her days to create. Then it went out into a void of no response. Followup emails and phone calls were not returned.
On the other side, a client of mine couldn’t understand why colleagues and friends were upset with her because she never responds to texts or emails that don’t require a direct reply. If an action is required, she takes it, but doesn’t let the person know that she took action.
She argued many points as to why she didn’t respond: doesn’t like to waste time, too many emails/texts, doesn’t like chit-chat. She didn’t get what the problem was. She didn’t think she was responsible for managing other people’s emotions.
It took some time, but she finally got that her lack of response to others has impact. They feel disrespected, disliked, or not valued. Then they end up having negative feelings towards her.
While it is definitely not her responsibility to mange other people’s feelings, she is responsible for the impact her actions have on others. Once she got this, she quickly realized she could set up an auto-response for emails that says, “I got your email and will response if necessary later.” For text, she could set up a two key-stroke response that says, “Got it. Will respond later if needed.” Simple.
I see this issue as one of energy management. A non-response can leave a person hanging, incomplete. It dissipates energy, yours and theirs. I will often respond to emails that don’t require specifics from me with, “Got it,” or “Thanks.” This takes two seconds, and completes the communication. And, it gives the sender a sense of security.
What’s your experience with non-response to communication? Do you have any tips for someone who is overwhelmed with email, calls and/or texts?