Are you feeling tongue tied?

You talk to you on the phone with a potential client, do some research, email an outlined proposal, then put it in the “hold” file and wait. And wait. You send a follow-up email. Then you wait some more.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are unresponsive. Who’s with me?

Or am I talking about you? If so, let me ask you this: What are you afraid of?

You know what I think? I think you don’t respond because you’re afraid that you can’t give me the response you think I’ll want to hear.

Let me offer you a few suggestions for what you can say the next time the cat’s got your tongue. Feel free to say any of the following:

  1. “I don’t know.”
  2. “I’m still waiting.”
  3. “I’ll get back, to you by xxx.”
  4. “Follow up with me on xxx.”
  5. “We’re not hiring you.”
  6. “I know I said I’d have the report done by Friday, but something came up, and I’m going to have to push it out a week.” {Best case scenario, you’d mention this on Wednesday, not Friday at 4:00.}

When you respond it’s perfectly fine if you don’t have the response that you think the other person would like to hear. Really. It is. An honest response, no matter how much it pains us both, is better than no response at all.

‘Cause here’s the deal: I’m much more likely to a. hire you or b. want to work with you again in the future if you’re straight with me. It’s common courtesy. It’s the least you can do.

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About Mary Rarick

Caffeine-addicted hyphen enthusiast, grammar geek and former editor; lover of shoes, vacuum cleaner tracks and compelling content; enthusiastic, perennial cause adopter; hash tag abuser, connector and social media strategist.
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