January 24, 2024

Combat Ghosting through Effective Communication

We have all experienced it or have done it ourselves- “Ghosting”.  Suddenly and without explanation avoiding all communication with colleagues, employers, and/or employees.  As individuals, we tend to stop engaging in phone calls, emails, or messages while leaving the other person uncertain as to what happened.

According to research in an article in the Washington Post conducted by Professor Royette T. Dubar at Wesleyan University, “Ghosting occurs as a result of lacking effective communication skills.”  From my own personal experience in recruitment, many candidates have ghosted companies by not communicating why they did not want to continue in the interviewing process. This happens frequently to the candidate as well. In a digital era, it becomes easy to hide behind technology and lack effective communication.

How can we improve our communication skills and avoid the act of “ghosting”? Check out the strategies below that can be applied to any situation.

  1. Timely Responses: Whether you are a colleague, employee, or employer- practice providing timely responses for others. Set a rule of thumb that aligns with your schedule. For example, you may want to set a goal to follow up with others within 24 hours.


  1. Active Listening: By listening to others, we can understand their needs and identify the importance of effective communication in any relationship.


  1. Be accessible: If we are easily accessible whether it is using technology or in person, it will create an environment in which we are not provoked to ghost others and in return, it will eliminate us from being ghosted.


  1. Avoid Indecisiveness: Utilize direct responses showing a clear and concise decision. For example, if you are turning down a job offer, state your decision without hesitation. We tend to avoid tougher conversation, but these are necessary for our professional development.


  1. Combine transparency with empathy: While communicating with the other party, remember to be transparent while understanding that the decision being communicated may not be in favor of the other person. Practice effective written and oral communication skills that express mindfulness.


As a bonus tip. We believe it is important to anticipate the questions or concerns the person you are interacting with may have. If you write thoughtful communications, with this in mind, it can eliminate the number of interactions needed to resolve an issue. The less communications we need to respond to, the less likely we are to ghost someone.

Have you ever been ghosted? Share your experience with FSR and your tips on effective communication. Let’s work together and combat ghosting!

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