As we move further into the digital age, I am finding that we are becoming less and less “human-centric” in our business relationships. Email, text, Twitter — the new norm when it comes to communication, most of it instant — while necessary has actually created a vast delay in our ability to communicate.
I am struck by the lack of common courtesy when it comes to communication with business professionals today. As a business owner myself, and someone who has spent almost 30 years working in business environments, this trend is troubling. Many who read this will understand.
I spend a great deal of time marketing my skills and services to businesses and individuals. This requires a tremendous amount of time and energy related to idea generation, research and proposal creation. Something I take very seriously, as I would expect the same from anyone seeking business from me.
I read an article on LinkedIn recently concerning someone’s acknowledgment that they no longer provide greetings or closings associated with their professional business communication. The assertion was it takes too much time and isn’t necessary. I for one DO NOT subscribe to that belief.
Common courtesy is the one thing that should never become victim to the instant access world we live in, specifically as it relates to professional business communication. Which leads me back to my original thought.
After spending the personal energy and time resources associated with proposal generation, one would hope for communication to acknowledge receipt of said materials. And conversely, an indication of whether they wish to continue the conversation toward a working relationship.
Let me clarify that these proposals are not unsolicited. They are only created after detailed discussions and in most cases, face to face meetings. Often this requires personal expense associated with travel to their location.
However what I am finding to be commonplace is the act of simply ignoring you, repeatedly. Multiple emails and phone calls result in only silence. I am not afraid of the word no, it is part of any business you work in. Whether it comes from potential clients, existing clients, co-workers or your boss. What I cannot understand is simply ignoring someone in a professional business capacity.
My time and effort are as important and valuable as yours. The belief that this is acceptable behavior is, in my opinion, not acceptable. Let us not become so accustomed to the “distance” that digital communication provides, that we lose professional courtesy and respect. As with most things in life, the “not-knowing” part is the most troubling, for it creates a roadblock. Do I move forward? Do I wait? Do I continue to follow up?
It may seem trivial, but such simple actions are good business practice. And really, wouldn’t you find it disappointing if it was done to you? Remember the Golden Rule also applies to business.