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Acknowledgement as part of communication

Acknowledgement – akin to respect, it is something folks want to receive. So why do so many of us fail to acknowledge others? When you call to resolve an issue with your cable or phone provider, when you send out a thank you note after completing a job interview, when you send a thoughtful card to a friend or relative– how often do you hear nothing, in any form, from the person you contacted? It sure seems that this is a lot more common nowadays than it was fifteen, twenty or more years ago.

Even if the situation does not come out exactly as you might wish, doesn’t it feel better when the person you have contacted responds to you, acknowledging and therefore on some level validating your reaching out? Most of us desire that recognition, a form of acceptance, even if there is no agreement or meeting of the minds. In fact, sometimes even a negative comment is better than no comment at all.

Whether you are engaged in a business or involved in a family or friendly relationship with a person, it seems the better practice to provide some form of acknowledgement when a person has reached out to you. Certainly there is less motivation to respond to people you do not know – that makes sense. And a strong argument can and should be made that some contacts – that link to an article, video or somesuch – do not really need a response.

However, business contacts from clients, customers, partners, vendors should certainly be acknowledged as should most communications from family and friends (with the obvious exception for those unsolicited links or troublemaking comments). Remember, an acknowledgment does not have to be complicated or promissory or offering a resolution to a question – it is simply a way to let someone know that you have received their communication and carries with it the implication that if a further response is necessary, it will be forthcoming at some point.  On the other hand, there is nothing to prevent one making a more detailed response or even a request that the issue be closed.

Once an acknowledgment is sent/received, then the originator of the contact may in turn respond or can wait for the next move from the person acknowledging that contact. At least at that point, the civilities have been fulfilled and both sides can move forward. 

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