Is Ghosting the Best Way to Say “No”?

talking it outRecently I talked with a business owner that complained about people’s inability (or unwillingness) to follow-up and follow through. She was upset that people in business would behave that way. Ironically, she failed to follow-up and follow through on a commitment she made with me, and did not return my phone call or email. I was ghosted.

Whether you are someone new to the world of work or an experienced business professional, ghosting has become the new way of saying “no” or avoiding necessary conversations. However, the problem is, there are future consequences to this very bad practice.

What is ghosting?

Many will contend companies have been using ghosting practices for years when they ignored or snubbed job candidates.

Ghosting is now so prevalent that business professionals are using it to avoid having conversations and disappointing others.

New hires and current employees are using ghosting to avoid starting (and keeping) jobs they don’t want, having conversations they feel incapable of having and/or wanting to avoid confrontations.

Sadly, people using this ghosting practice fail to realize that a momentary feeling of relief won’t last. When you ignore or snub someone instead of talking it out or saying “no, thank you”, your reputation in the business world has been hurt, sometimes irrevocably.

People have long memories. Your new business ideas, desire to work with an elite team, hopes for the promotion or need for a new job can be sidelined. All because you practiced ghosting!

6 Good Practices Instead of Using ‘No Response is A Response’  

Conflict Resolution. Many business professionals use ghosting due to the fear (often, unconsciously) of saying “no” and wanting to avoid conflict or disappointment. Often, they fail to realize a short term burst of disappointment or discomfort is better than creating a long-term reputation where others avoid working and talking with you. If you have changed your mind, let the person know. Otherwise, your silence will create a lack of trust inside yourself, and with others.

Integrity. Doing what you say you will do is important and is a life-long practice to develop. Ignoring your promise to setup a business meeting, show up on the job or project or fulfill a promise may feel good in the moment. However, the truth may be, you forgot, are running late, failed to prepare or changed your mind. Call and have a voice-to-voice conversation directly with the person. Offer solutions, not excuses.

Emotional Intelligence. Many people today want to be part of a team, until, they feel their contributions are overlooked or their ideas dissed. Take responsibility for how you feel. It is a golden opportunity to develop the communication skills and confidence to talk it out. Remember, no one was born a powerful or experienced communicator. Everyone has feelings that come and go. Take classes (e.g., Toastmasters, Landmark), practice mindfulness, talk it out and role-play with someone you trust and/or hire a coach to guide you through the issue. Most importantly, learn from the experience.

Communicate. Gain confidence and competence by having voice-to-voice conversations. Do not blame others for your ghosting, regardless of the reason. Apologize. If you were waiting for a different job offer, oversold your abilities, felt uncomfortable during the interview process or wanted to avoid attending an event, tell the truth. Texting and social media are not the same as having conversations!

Due Diligence. Learn how to ask the right questions to discover true concerns or feelings of discomfort. Only say “yes” if it works for you, otherwise, say “no, thank you.” Build these skills now. They are critical for your success in working with others and completing future work assignments, while building your reputation.

Avoid Career Derailment. While the job market is really hot today, it will change. Being “blackballed” by recruiters, key employees, leaders and hiring managers can (and probably will) come back to haunt you in upcoming years. Many have a list and a longer memory. Do not ghost!

Using the above recommendations to avoid ghosting and learn how to communicate will make a profound difference in your career. These skills are critical to your success, now and in the future.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results.  Do you need help developing persuasive listening and communication skills? Are you willing to learn and use them? Don’t wait until you’ve ghosted the wrong person and get stuck with the consequences! Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

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