So many business writers and self –appointed gurus pride themselves on telling others that returning all phone calls in a short amount of time is a critical key for their success. And they recommend that we also do the same.
On some level it makes sense to be responsive to the market. What I have learned is that there does exist A Point of NO RETURN… for calls or email and even gifts. HERESY you may think! But I stand firm.
The phone message that sounds like a tele-marketing call because only the name and number and no message is left— does not require a callback. Or perhaps the call is from someone with whom you already have had dealings and find them slightly sleazy, annoying or just unpleasant. Or the call may be from a former friend who only initiates contact when needing something.
Or the old flame whose behavior and exit could best be described as unconscionable.
There is a relative of mine who has her secretary screen her calls and does not answer her phone at home. She simply and arbitrarily ignores messages. That works for her in business. The relatives are tired of this and have stopped wasting their time calling her to stay in touch—which may have been her goal.
The same with email responses. If you know you want no further dealings with a person, don’t respond.
I dined with a colleague on a business trip who had invited one of her buddies to join us. It started out as an interesting evening of good, lively conversation and deteriorated when the second bottle of wine turned MS. Guided into Estelle Getty—The Golden Girl whose stroke damaged the “when to bite your tongue” brain cells. She was abrasive, jealous, rude and insulting and she ignored my subtle comments as she proceeded to repeat her offensive statements no less than three times.
Yes, she did email. I did not respond. Her mail had no apology but only wanted one more referral for her business. Could I have given her an earful on the phone or in person or online? Yes. Did I? NO, it would have wasted my time. Often the transgressors of good taste and behavior have are clueless when hearing a reaction to their behavior.
When a subsequent email indicated MS Behavior would be in my part of the country and wanted to meet with me. Truth be told, never would I spend another minute with a person so devoid of social savvy. How could I trust she would not go off into another insulting diatribe? Could I have taken the time and let her know what she did that was hurtful? Yes. I choose not to do so.
The person who is a repeat offender would not ‘get’ my feedback. There was no reason to waste the time.
And that brings us full circle. We know when we reach that point and need to honor it. The voice in our stomach will guide us and save us time, energy and aggravation. When behaviors, deeds and words of others just don’t work for us and work against us, that is the perfect message for us to heed.
It is a point of NO Return. That message rings loudly and clearly.
Susan RoAne is a keynote speaker and best-selling author who has “worked” trade shows, conventions, planes and pools, and has taught thousands of people to do the same. Her latest book, the updated and fully-revised best-seller, How To Work A Room, as well as The Secrets of Savvy Networking and What Do I Say Next?, are available in local and on-line bookstores. Each book is also available as an audio book.