No response is the new response?

by Jack Warren

Over the last year or so, it has become increasingly apparent that many people deem no response to be an acceptable response. Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand as well as anyone that the volume of communications (emails, phone calls, texts, direct messages, etc.) received on a daily basis has become increasingly difficult to manage. However, for most of us, simply not responding will in no way enhance our productivity, reputation, or future opportunities.

So what is a person to do? Is it acceptable to simply ignore some portion of the communications we receive? The simple answer is no. That is, of course, if you intend to continue in your current pursuits or if you owe any of your current status or position to the folks who have taken time to communicate with you.

Let’s break it down just a bit. First of all, if you’re just a typical citizen or a typical citizen/coach, you’re going to receive a good deal of communications in various forms. While it won’t “hurt your business” if you decide not to respond, you definitely won’t enhance your reputation.

If you are in any kind of business, then the question becomes almost rhetorical. This is your business. Whether you sell appliances or consulting, part of your business is to answer practically every inquiry or comment.

Now comes the trickier area. What if you are just the average guy or gal who, because you’ve done your job well, have achieved some degree of status that has brought with it a demand for increased accessibility in your community? Well then, that requires a bit more consideration. However, it doesn’t negate what might be the positive aspects of communications.

Let me pause here for a moment to say, No — there is no universal right to your time by those that inhabit your universe. However, if you’re beginning to look at it from that (negative) standpoint, then you are truly missing a great opportunity. It is all about opportunity. You see, fame and success have a shelf life. Overlooking the opportunities to acknowledge those that may be responsible for past and future successes could be self-defeating.

This column is merely to acknowledge that this area requires some thought and that it shouldn’t just be  brushed aside. In a future column, I’ll give you a few suggestions as to how to manage your communications – not only as a necessity, but as an opportunity. Additionally, we will have Tim Corbin sit in on an upcoming episode of Top Coach to address this very topic. If there’s anyone who has had to learn to manage communications, it’s Tim Corbin. You’ll definitely want to hear this one.

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