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If You Ignore Me, I Still Won’t Go Away


Robby

A major part of the business world is follow-up. If you’re in sales, of course follow-up is essential to your success. And if you’re looking for work, follow-up sets you apart from other applicants. Even if people don’t get back to you, you should get back to them.

Follow-up is also a crucial skill in other roles. That’s because people get busy and don’t respond to your emails or voicemails. They talk about something in a meeting, and then they get distracted. We all need the support and accountability of those around us. No one able to perfectly remember everything, every time.

Phone Call Follow-up
© Flickr User Andrew Wippler

And yet for so many people, their strategy is this: If I ignore what I don’t want, maybe it will go away.

The sticking-your-head-in-the-sand approach is bad advice in almost every situation. When it comes to business professionals who are trying to contact you, failing to return their calls and emails is a terrible idea. If I’m trying to reach you I’ll keep on trying to reach you.

Here’s the reason why: I assume that no decent human being would ever consciously ignore another human being.

Of course, there are lots of valid reasons why we should not speak. Maybe you’re too busy right now, or you’re not in a role that has outward facing relationships, or you’ve evaluated what I’ve sent and it’s not a good match. There are any number of possible scenarios. But all of them deserve a response from you in the form of “Thanks, but no thanks.”

So don’t ignore people who are trying to reach you at work. Call them back. Let them know that you are alive. Confirm that you do–or don’t—want to speak with them.

If you don’t, they may just keep calling anyway. And if they give up, that likely means they’ve decided you aren’t a professional. So, swallow your pride. Pick up that phone.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, June 24 2014 » Corporate Culture, Personal Organization

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