Responding Sincerely is Very Professional
by Rosette Pyne
You receive an invitation by email, snail mail or in person…what do you do? Let’s see….you really only have two options – accept or reject. But many of you pursue what you believe to be a third option…don’t respond at all. Most invitations to events give you a bit of time to think about it, but then, oh no…. eventually you have to reply yes or no. But you don’t know what to do, so you do nothing at all. You check with friends and relatives to see if they are going, but many of them are just like you – waiting. What are you waiting for?? An invitation to an event you think will be more fun or one where you can hang out with your friends?? Are you waiting for a better offer? Waiting to see if you have a work or school commitment? Waiting, waiting, waiting …for Godot…till the cows come home…till it stops raining…what exactly are you waiting for?? Make up your mind! Meanwhile, the event organizer is waiting too. They are waiting to hear from you! In most cases, there is food to be ordered, tables to be assigned, hotel rooms to be reserved…well you get the idea. Or do you?? Make a decision and stick with it.
This brings me to the “say yes”, then don’t show up scenario. Over the past year, Career Services has organized numerous events that require an RSVP (comes from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond”). Speakers come to campus, the response by students is overwhelming – so many want to attend, and the venue is changed to accommodate the larger crowd, more food is ordered, and well, you can see where this is going. Everyone is excited for the big event, but what happens? A significant percent of students don’t show up and there is a venue that is too big with too much food. This happens more often than most could imagine; some are large events and others are small personal luncheons/meetings with employers, alumni and high profile speakers. With limited seating, you have taken someone else’s place, someone who would have showed up. Look, I’m not talking about an illness or emergency that keeps you from attending an event. I’m talking about behavior – your behavior and you know who you are. Guess what folks, it’s not professional!
Perhaps none of this will mean anything to you, until you are the organizer. You send out the invitation, you wait for the responses, some don’t respond at all, others respond yes and don’t show up and you end up calling the non respondents and paying for those that don’t attend. All the while you are thinking why in the world they don’t just let you know if they are going to attend. Will you think twice about inviting them to your next event? Sure you will..and if you don’t respond more than once to a friend you will be asking later why you weren’t invited to the next party.
Responding sincerely is very professional and if you by chance you were not taught this growing up, it’s not too late to apply the lesson beginning today. Respond in a timely manner and certainly prior to the deadline; it’s okay to say “no thanks I am unable to attend”, and when you say “YES” BE CERTAIN TO SHOW UP.