I was sitting around with some fellow professionals at lunch, and the conversation turned to etiquette. Business etiquette. Or, the lack thereof. As we shared our stories, I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one who had experienced the trend of:
- Calls scheduled, usually by the other person, but they’re a no show. And then there’s no email giving you the heads up. And no call later to apologize. Oh well!
- Unanswered emails. These aren’t sales solicitations I’m talking about but emails where you need some answer from someone you’ve been working with on a specific project. If you don’t have time to answer it, just let me know you don’t have time and that you’ll get back to me later. I admit that I tend to be a little OCD about emails, answering them immediately. That’s not necessarily good either. But at least have the courtesy to return an email of some kind within 48 hours. And if you’re on vacation, let me know you’re on vacation.
- Not showing up for in-person meetings. Again, these are usually meetings requested by that person.
It’s as if, in this world of social media where everyone communicates online, we forget that there’s an actual person we’re dealing with. This person has other obligations and appointments and calls. This person has carved time out of their day for you. When you’re dealing in this abstract, virtual world, it’s easy to think of people in the abstract – just another slot on your iCal. Whoops, forgot my 3 p.m. call? Oh well. No big deal.
Well, actually, it is a big deal.