Tuesday, February 23, 2010

HBR, How to Handle the Silent Treatment

We've all had emails or voicemails go unanswered. Whether it's a prospective client, a potential employer, or a colleague from another department, you're left with the same feeling: what did I do wrong? Here are three tips for handling the silence:
Don't take it personally. Often there is a logical explanation for the silence. Perhaps the employer hasn't gotten funding for the position yet, or the colleague has no new information to share. Don't assume you did something wrong, but understand that the person may have other priorities.
Don't pester. In the hectic world of work, sometimes all people can do is respond to crises and top priorities. If you are neither, don't pester with repeated follow-up emails or calls.
Manage your emotions. Once you've sent your follow up, assume you won't hear back. If you do hear back, it will be a nice surprise. If you don't, you won't have wasted your energy stressing about it.
Today's Management Tip was adapted from "When Your Voicemails and Emails Go Unanswered, What Should You Do?" by Peter Bregman.

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