In my frustration about the fact that so few people return messages nowadays, as I was raised that it’s rude to ignore people, I turned to the internet to get some answers. I landed on an article in Psychology Today, which pinpointed three key reasons why people ignore messages:
- There are too many messages. Between texts, Tweets, Facebook messages, LinkedIn emails, traditional business and personal e-mails, What’s App messages, voice mails, and others, it’s overwhelming to many people. JILL’S TIP: Close accounts. Limit the number of communication channels in your life so you can stay on top of the ones that are most valuable.
- People are too busy. Most people live a multi-tasking life, zipping from one thing to another, and only have so much time in a day, so returning messages is not a priority. JILL’S TIP: Start saying “No” to free-up time. A frenetic life is not a happy life – a balanced life is a happy life.
- People avoid the hard stuff. Most people are poor communicators and find conflict unpleasant, so they avoid it. JILL’S TIP: Take a Conflict Avoidance class. Avoiding people, questions, and issues is unproductive and it doesn’t make it go away.
In addition to being responsive, do you know what else is important? Your word – it’s all you have. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you don’t follow through on your word, people will begin to distrust you and your “stock” will depreciate very quickly.
Although this is a trend that I’ve noticed in the past few years, it became glaringly obvious to me during the 2019 holiday season. In the course of December, I attended a lot of social events and 13 new people, who I met for the first time, asked me for my business card. Why? They cited various reasons: I’d love to speak with you about how to publish a book. I’d love to learn more about your business. I’d love to get to know you better one-on-one over a glass of wine. How many of these 13 people followed through on their word and reached out to me? One. Pathetic.
WHAT CAN I DO? Stand out from the crowd. Call me old school, but I was raised that being responsive, not ignoring people, and following through on your word is important. You can follow the tips in the three bullets to get your arms around these issues. Great leaders have many important traits, including treating people with respect and following through on their word. Is this you?