Even though Halloween is over, there’s a certain kind of ghostly behaviour that continues throughout the year.
If you’ve ever had an email or a text message ignored, you’ll know that it’s not only on dating apps that you risk the chance of being ghosted.
Ghosting – when someone cuts off all communication without explanation – clearly extends to all of our professional interactions too.
Rejection is never pleasant. But next time it happens, rather than taking the silence personally, try doing what the experts suggest and use the feedback as an opportunity to inform your own communication skills instead.
Many agree that the behaviour says more about them (ghoster) than it does about you (ghostee). When we remember this, it’s easier to keep trying different ways of breaking through the silence.
One of my clients takes “keep trying” to new heights and has tried different creative strategies. Her most outrageous? She sent a sing-a-gram of Nat King Cole’s “Answer me my love”. It was a gamble but she ended up securing the account as a result.
But before you dig out your old tap shoes, it’s useful to understand why it is that people ghost in the first place.
1. Often, ghosting happens to avoid conflict or awkward situations. Ironically, it can also be to avoid rejecting the other person – even though procrastinating the message or not delivering it at all, just serves to make it worse.
2. The ghosters are simply short of time. Offering a more nuanced response is time-consuming and it’s easier to avoid it altogether.
3. There’s also the chance that the person who initially asked you to submit your proposal lacks the authority to make the decision. It might be a little infra dig for them to admit that they pretended to have more power than they actually have.
4. Remember that the conversation is a whole lot more urgent for you than it is for them. Priorities differ and we all ascribe urgency to different tasks in our to-do lists.
Finally, try these ideas to raise your own communication game if you’ve been ghosted:
1.Consider your approach. Did you connect with someone and send along a personal request too hastily? Pinging a casual connection for favours can make your entire interaction seem transactional.
2.Embrace the awkward. Many ghost to avoid awkward exchanges. Instead of feeling haunted by their disappearance, send a brief, light-hearted message and leave the door open for them to reconnect, or simply to request that they let you know what’s going on.
3.If you’re the one guilty of ghosting, (and research shows that we’re all guilty of ghosting at some time) perhaps this is a good opportunity to resolve that in future, you’ll answer the requests of others quickly and honestly to avoid inflicting the kind of discomfort on them that we so dislike experiencing ourselves.
Here’s to a less spooky workplace 👻