Sunday, September 2, 2012

RSVP's in Today's World

When I was younger, I really did not know what RSVP meant. Since then, I have learned a thing or two. Basically it means that a person who is inviting you to an event of some kind requests a response if you will be attending. It is a "courtesy" for the host so that they can plan adequate accommodations, food or other items for a successful meeting or event.

"RSVP" has been around for a long time. However, I see a twist to this critical "courtesy." Consider the attempts of people in planning some type of event, whether it is a business meeting, social gathering, family reunion, community event with a specified audience. When those who have been specifically invited to attend choose not to respond, the host is at loss of what to plan for. Sure, they can make estimations of how much of whatever, but the results are not enough or too much which is a waste of funds. No one has benefited, they have just caused frustration.

Move forward to today. A habit of not responding has spread across several generations. We are a society of time-structured people. We have places to go, places to see, people to talk to and things to do. However, many have lost the ability to "respond" when inquiries have been made, or invitations have been made. We have numerous channels in which to communicate:

  • Phone Calling
  • E-mailing
  • Texting
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • Letter Writing
  • Skyping
  • Face-to-Face
  • Memos
  • and even Post-it Notes!
Have I missed any? But even after all these avenues have been exhausted to send messages or invitations - people still choose not to respond. 

This is my frustration. If there is something to be done - I get it done. My attempts to include others in a planning process, so that a consensus decision can be made is most often ignored or deemed not important to "respond" to. For those who have accepted an assignment and repeatedly fail to respond has left me, as well as others having to fill the void and continue to make things happen. It is especially disheartening when criticism comes after a decision has been made to move forward with an action or activity. 

Many individuals have a hard time doing simple things - such as hitting the "REPLY" button. A simple response of:
  • Yes
  • No
  • Can we table this decision/action for a [amount of time]?
  • Sounds great - but how about this . . . ?
  • Would love to discuss this with you. Can we talk later?
  • This is stupid!
  • or some other creative, informative response!
Is there a solution other than a reply? If this continues to happen with others not responding than there will be a decrease in the  expectations of people and planned, meaningful occasions. 

Guess I will just have to be OK with this and learn to resist the "reply" button and be OK with lackluster meetings and events. If you want me to respond, you will just have to search me out. I will only communicate face-to-face.