Returning calls, emails not just polite

October 5, 2012

Nashville Business Journal

Reputation is a direct reflection of you. It is impacted by everything you say and do, but also by what you don’t say or do.

Take this recent example: A customer of ours was having trouble getting approval for expensive, high-demand class instructors from out of town. We couldn’t get a response to our repeated calls and emails. In the end, we canceled the instructors late in game, hoping they could re-book their time. This intentional avoidance of communication is a sure-fire path to a poor reputation.

In another case, a particular company vice president never returns phone calls. Sadly, his reputation for ignoring the most basic of communication skills — responding to calls and emails — has become his calling card. Most people don’t even waste time making contact anymore. Just like hiding from an uncomfortable situation, ignoring people and disrespecting their time will undermine your reputation.

If you avoid or ignore people, they’re not the only ones that lose out. Think of what you might be missing out on too: important business information, networking to grow your knowledge base, a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, a great investment or a chance to make a new friend.

The key to keeping your reputation in check is to communicate early and often. Be proactive in how you choose to deal with people. Have the courtesy (and a strategy) to return regular communications. Quite simply, the path to a positive reputation is strong, straightforward communication.

Joe Scarlett is the founder of the Scarlett Leadership Institute and the retired chairman and CEO of Tractor Supply Co. He can be reached at

Comments and Discussion:

right on the money

Posted Oct 11, 2012 at 8:33 AM by Wolf Gugler
Absolutely Joe, ANY communication is better than none. We've all had our share of these experiences and unfortunately I do feel no response is rude and do have a long memory...which is why I try my best to respond to all calls and/or emails, even if it's an autoresponse. Best regards, Wolf

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