Networking Pitfall: Making assumptions why someone hasn’t responded
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job SearchNetworking
Let’s say you contacted someone on Monday. It’s now Wednesday and you’re trying to figure out why that person is avoiding you! Here’s a thought: It has nothing to do with you. That person is busy!
One of the worst things you can do is make assumptions for why someone hasn’t responded to your influx of calls and emails.
I had a situation where someone contacted me to get a referral. He left a message. I was out of town. Three days later, he left another message. I was still out of town. Two days after that, he sent me an email saying “I thought you were going to help me but I guess I was mistaken.” Actually, I was going to help him, but I’m not now! If he gets uptight about me not calling back when I’m busy, what’s he going to do to someone I refer him to? This was a year ago. And you know what. My life is no less fulfilled with him not being in it. But I can tell you that he missed out on a really great referral!
Another person I know, we’ll call him Tad, was trying to get in touch with a guy named Mike. A couple weeks passed by and I asked Tad if he’d been able to connect with Mike. Tad replied “Oh, he finally called me back.” Sensing there was more to the story, I asked Tad what he did to get the magical response. He said he left Mike yet another message and said it was “improper not to respond.”
Well, congratulations Tad, you won the battle and lost the war. Mike may have gotten back to you, but with that attitude, there’s no way he’s going to help you today, tomorrow or ever. He simply returned your call, checked the box off, and never has to talk to you again. However, your conversation just may have some really fascinating lingering effects. In fact, if there’s ever an interaction between Mike and someone who brings up your name, I’m guessing Mike might suggest that you might be more than a tad annoying.
If you’re so focused on people responding then be a good reason for them to respond. But don’t forget. People can be busy. They can have great intentions (I usually do), but sometimes other priorities in life take precedence. So have some patience. Cut people some slack. And to pass the time, why don’t you get busy contacting other people? If you’re really networking with vengeance, you’ll never even notice that someone hasn’t responded!