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GHOST STORIES AREN’T JUST FOR HALLOWEEN ANYMORE

By August 26, 2017 Austin Visuals' Blog

Read possible antidotes to Ghosting and Share Your Ghosting Story

Boo.  I’m the client you made a proposal to, the guy who didn’t pay his bill,  the person you met at a networking event or “connected” with on LinkedIn, the prospect you worked so hard to engage with new ideas and special offers, or the hiring manager who said she’d “be back in touch.”.  I’m just going to disappear now, and not return emails, texts, or phone calls.

I’m ghosting you.  Don’t feel badly about it because I don’t.  I’m just participating of a growing business trend that has frustrated people in personal relationships for years.

See, it’s really hard for me to say no to people.  Also, i have SO many emails to answer.  I’m really really busy and I just forgot. You’re really only a virtual presence to me now and not that important.

And……………..POOF.

If you ghost, you are either too cowardly to say “no”, or have such a massive ego you think that behavior will have no consequences…but it does.  All of us in your network or who might be customers for your product talk about you behind your back since you haven’t the courtesy or courage to show your “face.”  Sound harsh?  Perhaps it’s not a very gentle wake up call and more of a screaming alarm clock, but sometimes that’s necessary.

Consequences of ghosting:

Whether you are a startup, freelancer or work for a large company, people will remember the person who shut them out for no apparent reason. No matter how many clients you have or how much money you bring in, having negatives feelings attached to your brand can really hurt you down the road. Giving someone bad news is hard, but a simple “no thank you” is almost always well received and won’t hurt future communication.

So what can you do to make sure you do not partake in business ghosting? The best ways to prevent accidently (because we know you would never do it on purpose) ghosting someone is obviously responding back to emails as soon as you read them so you don’t risk forgetting in the future.

You may be listing off all the reasons in your head right now why that is not feasible because of how busy you are. The solution to this is simple, only check your emails when you can actually take the time you need to respond to them. This not only ensures you respond to emails you’ve been meaning to answer, but it also cuts back on the time you spend looking at and revisiting emails. Go ahead and try it out sometime, it’s easy.

  • By ghosting a business contact you are effectively saying ‘I don’t care enough or value this relationship’.
  • You could potentially be committing career suicide – you never know when that contact could be helpful in the future
  • You could be losing a potential customer – remember contacts are consumers too

At Austin Visuals, we have a hard and fast rule that says we respond to RFP’s and customer needs within one hour when possible and at the latest, within 24 hours. Period.  The same rule applies to our staff communications.  Period.  Ghosting is not tolerated.

Ghosting is the digital equivalent of chewing with your mouth open, and it’s about time we treated it that way.  

Ghosting — or a sudden disappearance with no reply and no explanation — has been on the rise for years, and shows no signs of waning. Even after multiple meetings and customized proposals and pitches, responsible professionals will just completely disappear, without the courtesy to simply say, “Thank you, but we’re not a fit,” or, “The timing isn’t great.” Instead, they leave the other party to pursue them incessantly.

It happens to businesses, ghosting is a constant complaint among job seekers who have placed their very futures in the hands of a hiring manager or recruiter who disappeared, and it happens in personal relationships.  Setting the personal aside for this article, (not that I don’t care but it’s too complicated in a whole different way) let’s lo

Why?

Technology is the easy scapegoat, But technology does not excuse this bad behavior, and not holding ourselves accountable is a lose-lose approach. Here are two main reasons why we continue to ghost and what we can do about it:

1) We have a false sense of our networks.  We value numbers over the quality of connection, and think that just because someone is a Linkedin contact or a Facebook friend, that that relationship doesn’t need to be nurtured. But relationships are not a “one and done” operation. The digital point of connection is merely the springboard for the actual meat of the relationship. We’ve all had someone fail to respond to our personal correspondence, but continue to “like” our posts on social media. It’s maddening, to say the least.

Research indicates that both close and loose ties are important in building a valuable network, but we forget that close connections and loose ties alike require ongoing effort to continue to deliver value. Relationships, just like everything else worth having, are hard work. And laziness — however appealing in the short-term — yields an equally disappointing outcome over time.

2) We want to be wanted.

In business and in pleasure, we like the feeling of being pursued. Someone might reach out 2, 3, or more times, and yet we still don’t take a moment to respond and give them clarity.

The time it takes to say “no thank you” is far less than the time and mental energy spent processing the on-going requests and pursuit. And yet, we continue to let others chase us. It feels good to be wanted.

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Social media does us no favors in this department. Likes and follows fuel our ego, and we wrongly think that relationships are one-directional or can be turned on and off when beneficial to us. But relationships are two-sided enterprises. Valuable intros, time spent mentoring or consulting, or merely showing up to an event or always responding to a note — the cumulative effect of these small acts matters in the life of a relationship, but when only one party consistently holds up their side of the bargain, an imbalance ensues.

Sure, there are moments of great hardship or times when we simply can’t rise to the occasion — but most of the time, it’s not an emergency that fuels the ghosting. We all know people who perpetually embrace the “I’m busy” excuse and disappear, but don’t hesitate to ask for what they need when it’s beneficial.

The antidote to ghosting in business

So, the next time you receive communication from a business contact you already have had some communication with instead of ignoring them please consider using one of the following antidotes;

Polite no/decline – there are times you just don’t want or cannot continue with the subject/offer/conversation for whatever reason. So how long would it take to write a polite no/decline email? Give your business contact some closure so they can move on and stop wasting time chasing you.

Offer an alternative – perhaps your contact has suggested a way you can work together but it doesn’t quite suit your business needs. So instead of ghosting or declining why not get creative and think of an alternative way forward and suggest a new proposal to them.

Schedule a new time – ghosting can often come from people who are swamped or overloaded and too busy. Don’t ignore your valuable contact. Simply contact them to let them know you have received their communications by acknowledging it and give them an indication of when you will be free.

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So as you navigate an already complicated marketplace, help put an end to ghosting. If not out of courtesy for others, then out of a selfish desire to maximize the human capital in your life.

Have you been ghosted?  Were you able to solve the problem? Tell us your story on Facebook 

Austin Visuals is a full-service 3D, 2D, Motion Graphics, Live Video, E-learning, Digital Publication studio. We’ve been creating digital magic nationwide for a decade. We work with companies of all sizes from startup to standout. Call us for a free consultation. 512-591-8024 info@austinvisuals.com 

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