What to Do when People Don’t Respond
We’ve all been there. You write a perfectly crafted email to someone that you’d love to connect with and you send it off to them with the hopes that they will read it and respond. One day passes, then a few more, and then the fear sets in.
What if I wrote something that offended them?
What if they just don’t care about people like me?
What if I just wasted my time?
The list goes on and on. The interesting thing is that the only thing that legitimately wastes time in this situation is asking:
If someone doesn’t respond to you, the way I see it, you have three things to consider:
- How badly do you want to meet them? – If you really feel very strongly about the person and the work they do, then you probably want to keep pushing. If you weren’t so sure, maybe your time and effort can be spent on someone who is more exciting to you. If you badly want to meet them, you’ll likely find a way to connect. Maybe you can find an event they are speaking at, or maybe someone you meet down the line will provide you with a warm intro, or maybe you’ll hear from them if you follow up a few more times. Start from the point of decision around how badly you want to meet them. I do this all the time. If someone doesn’t respond to me or an introduction someone made, I always ask myself how bad I want that meeting to happen. Time is a finite resource and if someone doesn’t think I’m important enough to get back to, I’m not sure I want them to.
- What else is on their plate? – There are times in our lives where we are busier than others. We also have times when events occur that cause us to have to slow down our correspondence. I rarely get ill, but when I do, I end up with a massive email backlog. In some cases it takes me a month or two to follow up with everyone from it. I can only imagine what it must be like for someone having a larger life event like a wedding, launch, or the birth of a child. Often we get so caught up in our own ideas that we forget that the rest of the world has a life. People have obligations and answering contact requests may not be very high on that list. I have a good friend who just launched a course. I know that right now is not the best time to introduce her to anyone or send correspondence because she needs to be laser focused on that. If you haven’t heard from someone, do a little research about what they are up to these days. You can see this info via social media or you may hear it from friends of the person. Sometimes it has nothing to do with their interest in responding and more to do with the fact that they are knee deep in other things life has thrown at them. For example, I just launched a new program and rolled out invites for a new event so my response time is slower. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to respond to those who have reached out; it just means that it might take me a little longer.
- What channel are they on? – I have said this before, and I’ll say it again. If you call me, I’m sorry. I am awful at listening to voicemails. I do much better via email or in person. If we schedule a call, I’ll always be there, but if I am called out of the blue the odds I’ll answer are super slim and the odds I’ll get a chance to deal with the voicemail are even slimmer. This gets me in trouble sometimes, but I know which channel of communication works best for me and I use it for my correspondence. Some people never use email and only ever speak in person or via phone. Some people you may only be able to converse with on Twitter. Pay attention to the channel someone prefers and use that channel. You’re more likely to hear back from them.
Not hearing back from someone can be a very frustrating situation, but there are things you can do to make it less frustrating. There’s plenty of info out there about why someone may not be responding. See if you can find it before you start sinking into a series of What Ifs.
What Ifs waste time.
Research saves it.
Reach out and research and you’ll be much happier with the outcome.