No Response is the New 'No'

This week I am not going to write about open water swimming or my childhood. Instead, I have chosen to write about how rude and disrespectful I think it is for a business person to 'never' respond to another business person's email.

Never answering an email is 'different' from forgetting or procrastinating or misplacing an email. I am pretty sure you have all done that, I know I certainly have. What I am talking about is when you make a conscious choice to 'not' answer someone's email. They could be a client, colleague, friend, acquaintance, or someone you have recently met or even someone you have known for several years. I don't know about you, but when someone 'never' answers my email, it makes me wonder what their reason might be.

Maybe you are suspicious that the sender is trying to sell you something and rather than quickly acknowledge their email and say no thank you, you never respond. Perhaps you worry that if you send a response, the sender will think you are interested in what they have to say and they will continue to fill up your in box. Or, maybe you justify your lack of response by thinking the sender should automatically know how important and busy you are, far more important and busier than they are.

I am sure you can tell where I am going with this. In my opinion, not to acknowledge or respond to an email is just rude and disrespectful. The sender is left to figure out something they can't possibly know in the absence of your reply. Some people will worry and wonder, am I unworthy, am I not smart enough, is my time worth nothing, not to mention how they will feel if you were someone they had or still have a professional relationship with. That is the ultimate digital slap in the face.

Email has moved us into a whole different level of communication, replacing face to face and voice to voice. In my world and my business not answering an email is tantamount to telling an existing or potential client that I am not interested in them or their business. No matter who we are and what we do, it is still important to show a level of respect and courtesy. So, the next you receive an email, please reconsider that your response could result in a new opportunity that benefits you.

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