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Why Manners Are Important in Business

by Lisa Chilvers

posted in Business

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About six weeks ago I went to a networking event and bumped into someone I had known for years but not seen in ages.
We chatted about what we were both up to. I told him about some recent changes to my business and the new work I was doing with my clients. Not only did he ask me to send him a précis of my current offering to pass on to his own clients, but was also very keen on working with me directly to improve his time management - "Please email me all the details and I'll get a date in the diary" were his parting words.
The following day I sent him two emails. The first attached the requested précis. The second suggested some dates on May we could get together for some training.
No response.
Now I'm not one to reply to emails straight away. I don't see them as an urgent form of communication and sometimes it's easier to set aside time in the days that follow to clear the inbox, so I wasn't concerned.
A week later, still no reply, so I sent a reminder regarding the time management training.
No response.
The following week, I phoned him. Twice!!
Zilch. Nada. NOTHING... Not a squeak.
So I left it. You can't win 'em all and there's no point investing time when, although they were the ones that prompted the contact, people just aren't interested enough to get back to you. Life is way too short to waste running after the ones that get away.
That was about 3 weeks ago.
So... Yesterday morning, I was at another meeting and lo and behold, there he was, walking up to me, bold as brass, spouting about how good it is to see me!
"And how are you?" he asked me.
"Still waiting for you to reply to emails and calls" I retorted.
Ah, he explained, that was due to his IT team who had been lackadaisical in sorting his email issues
(Aside: I know his IT guy VERY well and I don't think he'll be at all impressed when I tell him that a certain person was effectively saying he's no good at what he does... I'm going to buy ringside seats to THAT conversation!!)
So do they manage your phone as well, I asked? Because that would certainly explain why I'd had no response to my calls either...
And once again... No response.
No surprise!
Pffftt... do I care? Not at all! He's the loser in this one. He has done himself a great dis-service. Not only will I never be interested in doing business with him in the future, I won't be recommending him to anyone else either, for fear that he will handle them just as badly as he did me, which will reflect on me and NOT in a good way. Had he approached me and launched into an apology about his total lack of respect for my time, I would have looked more kindly on it, but I would still be struggling to forgive him blaming his ineffectiveness on someone who wasn't there to defend themselves.
Bottom line? Not replying to communication from another business person is unacceptable and rude. In fact, it borders on ignorance. OK, sometimes I ignore un-solicited contact, but if I've asked someone to get in touch, the least I can do is have the courtesy to reply.
This is not rocket science. It's basic manners. Enough said.
About the Author: Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. That is always my philosophy in business.
You should always remember to be polite and fulfill all your obligations if you want people to view you favourably.
Never make excuses!
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