If you are a parent, you will probably know what selective deafness is.
An early warning sign that your child may have this affliction is their complete failure to respond to you when you ask them to do something.
When faced with this situation, you have three options:
1. Ask again, in the hope that they will hear you this time
2. Leave it, assuming they heard but just didn’t respond and will do the thing you asked imminently
3. Get their attention by mentioning something that will interest them and therefore permeate their selective deafness.
The words ‘chocolate’ or ‘swimming’ help in my house!
Then, make your request again before their attention wanders
None of these options is without risk.
There’s always the chance they were genuinely on their way to do the thing you asked and asking them again will irritate them.
The possibility they really didn’t hear the first time; and the challenge of coming up with an attention-grabbing headline to make the third option work.
Talking to other businesses can sometimes be like speaking to children with selective deafness.
I have had several experiences of communication being met with silence, and it’s sometimes difficult to decide on the best way forward.
Go with option one and follow up with an email or call?
Certainly at least once, but at what interval and how often before you give up?
People do get bogged down with email these days, and I know that I personally appreciate a ‘nudge’ now and then, but one woman’s nudge is another’s nag.
Option two could mean missing out on an opportunity because your email got lost.
I’ve had success with option three in the past, but you need to find a chocolate or swimming equivalent.
I’ve ended up relying on my intuition, but that in itself can be swayed by how much importance I place on the reply.
Do you respond to all emails?
Which of the three selective deafness options do you follow?
How often, and for how long, do you follow up if you don’t hear back from someone?
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