The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
It’s been used to explain many different scenarios: 20% of your clients take up 80% of your time…20% of a certain population own 80% of the wealth….20% of your buyers make up 80% of your sales revenue.
Just from 1) stories I get from what affects others that they share with me, & 2) my own experience, I believe 80/20 can apply to a very specific communication scenario we ALL deal with on both a personal & professional level, almost daily (& it’s not talked about enough).
Here is the scenario: you ask a question of someone/some company/some partner, waiting for a response: but when they don’t have the POSITIVE answer THEY KNOW you are looking for, instead of giving you the respect of a response (even a simple “no it doesn’t work at this moment”), 80 percent of ppl just don’t respond at all.
There are MANY reasons why this number may be this high: a) ppl don’t like to say “no” to others bc by nature we are ppl pleasers, b) it’s more work to say “no” than to just ignore the question, c) they think if they respond w a “no” there is going to be more work in having to explain their “no” once you respond back, d) they don’t consider the burning of bridges when they don’t respond & just assume they’ll never have to encounter you again, or blatantly don’t care.
Think about how much cumulative – time is lost, & MH is affected bc of the 80/20 in the communication around a “no” answer. Some examples: a) the business partner who doesn’t like your proposal, as you wait to hear – & could easily move forward elsewhere w someone else if they just said no, b) the companies ppl interview with who don’t respond proactively to let you know why you didn’t get the job as you wait to hear the decision & consider all the what-ifs, c) the invitation to an event to a friend or loved one, who instead of telling you they can’t come or the time doesn’t work out, once again ignores as you wait to figure out who is coming.
It’s astonishing how much inefficiency surrounds this, & how many hurt feelings & “minds wondering why they haven’t heard back” are affected by this.
Here’s the thing – no we don’t OWE someone an explanation. But wouldn’t it be a great world if we could all respond with a “no” or “doesn’t work at this time” when ppl ask/invite/inquire w us about something? Repeated reach-outs after that “no” I can understand not responding to bc of how busy we may be…but wouldn’t it be great if everyone at least had the decency/respect for others to respond even when the respond isn’t a positive one?
In sales you learn a “no” is better than a maybe. The lack of response in any forum in life is nothing more than a maybe that makes our minds wander & causes us to stress & chase. Not fun, inefficient, & very unhealthy.