Okay, first, let’s look at the formal definition of “ignore.”
To refuse to pay attention to; disregard.
The definition in itself does not indicate that the ignoring is personal. In most cases, if it is any consolation, your email is probably not the only one not to receive a response.
Your Email First
First, assume you type your emails correctly and include business email best practices. In that case, why would your contacts ignore or disregard your communications? Could be several factors:
Let me share my experience with you. Every day I receive many unsolicited requests from those with self-serving motives. I ignore them. Some because they are templates or mass emails.
Others, because of the topic being inquired about, if they read my site, would have the answer to their inquiry. They would discover that my answer would be “no” to what they are asking about. Not reading my site tells me they feel their time is more important than mine. Therefore, I don’t take my time to respond.
That’s just one situation that could cause your emails to be ignored.
Intentional or not?
Consistently, I receive emails from concerned site visitors asking why they are not receiving responses to their emails sent to colleagues, coworkers, and business associates. They feel they are being ignored, and they don’t like it.
They think it is rude — and in many cases, they are probably right when it comes to essential communications involving doing business with established contacts.
I get that frustration. You have business; you need input, information, a file, or the other side to answer a few questions. Crickets.
This happened to me recently — asking a long-time customer (known for only answering when he needs information) to set a date to launch his new website so I can block out the necessary time. Unfortunately, he has ignored that request only to ask about something else — by replying to a two-month past due invoice email that he still has yet to remit.
How should I feel about that? Does that reflect respect for my time and our long-term relationship? I hate when others make me inefficient. I bet you think the same.
Speaking from experience, some do not respond intentionally. You may hear, “I don’t have enough time…” or, “Yes, I choose to ignore some people and don’t care if they like it or not!” Yeah, that’s a great way to run a business.
Many times, it is nothing personal. The lack of reply reflects more on them than you. They are too busy doing whatever it is they feel is more important than taking a moment to acknowledge your email.
Unfortunately, we cannot choose our contacts or those we must email in our daily business activities.
If it’s not you, what then?
Increasingly, we live in an “all about me” culture. As a result, common courtesies where contacts would take time to consider how their actions (or lack thereof) may impact someone else has gone right out the door. On and off-line.
You want to do a good job and have contacts that make your job downright difficult. What will you do if your business emails still need to be responded to? You be professional and don’t take it personally or get upset.
Pick up the phone and give them a call. If you need information or are doing a follow-up, a personal phone call can do wonders to build your relationship and let your contact know that you are efficient and conscientious.
For those who ignore, you can rest assured that your business relationships may be reconsidered by those you choose to ignore. If you do so intentionally because you are not interested in ongoing communications or business dealings, at least have the courtesy and professionalism to inform the inquirer.