What is professional ghosting?
Professional ghosting is where a business contact, work department, management or even a work colleague, suddenly become unresponsive without any explanation. You, the ‘ghostee’, are left with a barrage of unanswered questions possibly feeling confused and a little rejected.
Why does it happen?
Well, there could be a whole host of reasons for ceasing communication. Other work matters may take precedent, the ‘ghoster’ may not be at work, or may have simply forgotten!
But realistically, it’s often because people are just afraid to say ‘no’. They don’t want to let anybody down or face up to a difficult situation, and they don’t want to be viewed in a negative light – which of course is what actually ends up happening.
Remember also, that technology has changed the way we communicate. There’s less face to face contact and the introduction of texts, emails, and communication apps make it all too easy to ‘ignore’ someone.
What can you do about it?
Firstly, don’t take it personally. Sure, if you’ve been ghosted, it can give your self-esteem a knock, leading you to question yourself and your competency, but remember, as long as you’ve done what you can to politely nudge them to respond, the issue is with them not you.
If you’re waiting for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or information, consider whether you have given the other person enough information to make a decision, or to understand why you need a piece of information from them. Going back to the person to ‘check-in’ with them to see if they have the information they need is a great way to keep the door open.
You may be asking yourself if the professional relationship is in fact that important. If it is worth chasing, then keep at it. Try a different method of making contact – pick up the phone or drop them a text. Remember to be empathetic to the reasons why the person has ignored you – it’s hard to say ‘No’, or there may be ‘stuff’ going on for them.
You could decide to go to the person above your contact – their boss, or another member of the team; remember, it will help to maintain a good relationship if you send a gentle nudge first rather than complaining to the boss that you’re being ignored! Remain professional – after all – you never know who you may be working with in the future.
It’s likely that professional ghosting has become a fact of life. We’re living in a busy world where we all wear many hats that distract us and with the pace of technology change and the need for face to face communication becoming less relevant, it may increase even more. We may simply just have to accept that no response, is in fact the response.
The Survey Initiative is an experienced employee research company. If you would like to know more about how we can help your organisation with any employee research matter or would be interested in a FREE Employee Engagement Consultation, then give us a call on +44 (0)1255 870735 or contact us via our website here.