Without question, my top pet peeve is the sound of e-mail silence.
I suppose that people who don’t respond to emails in a semi-timely way are the same ones who used to put off returning phone calls. In a business situation, leaving the caller, or e-mailer hanging for several days is beyond rude. If the answer is “No” or “I don’t know” or “Let me think about it” or “Buzz off, you’re bugging me” or any variation of the above, I would much rather know it than be left with a black hole of no communication at all. Any response is information sharing. No response leaves the issue in limbo.
I’m convinced the reasons people fail to respond fall into two main categories:
1. People don’t like to say they’re not ready or that the answer is No. They’re buying time or looking for a way out.
2. Some like to retain power. If they hold the last communication and don’t lob it back over the fence, they are the ones holding all the cards, so to speak. Procrastinators are great at this. Trouble is, they hold up the non-procrastinators like myself. It makes us crazy. We just want to get the issue off of our “to do” lists, regardless of the outcome. It’s not personal, it’s business. And if you have a Smartphone we know you’ve seen the email. You cannot hide!
If you recognize yourself here, please, I beg of you, instead of holding onto email responses until you can give the answer you THINK they want, just tell the truth and do it soon! It will help the stress level of everyone whose next move depends on communicating with you. And it will make you appear more professional because right now you don’t come across that way.