Thursday, March 01, 2012

Your RSVP Is Your Word

It is amazing how many people RSVP that they are attending and then fail to show up.  While there is always a variety of "things" that can come up, and certain work or personal "emergencies" will happen from time to time, this has become a prevalent issue.

This is true at business events and in social commitments.  I talked to a friend who said many of her and her husband's friends are flakes.  They agree to do things and then bail at the last minute for all kinds of reasons that they expect are understood by those they stand up.  Happy hour, dinners, parties, attending concerts, etc... can all be skipped on a whim.

The check-in table at business functions can have as many as 1/3 of the attendance list who never show up and claim their tag. This not only creates havoc for the meeting planner, but it also means extra food that is ordered, paid for, and thrown away.

It is not only happening at free and hosted events, but this is very common after high registration fees are paid in advance for luncheons, seminars, trade shows, conventions, etc...  There are usually no refunds issued, and the business professionals still put the expense reports through to their company as if they attended.  I think most CFO's would have a screaming fit if they knew how often they are paying registration fees for employees who never set foot inside.

When you tell others you will be at an event you are making a commitment.  While it might seem harsh, if you RSVP that you will attend and then do not show up (or contact the host to let them know your plans have changed) you are a lair.  Yep.  Your RSVP is your word and others take action based on the actions you told them you would take.

Most people will have an excuse, or rationalize that any certain event was not that important, but if you went far enough that it caused a person to print a nametag, then you made a commitment.  Do not RSVP for events you do not plan to attend, and do not put things on your calendar that can easily be ignored because you got busy.

I assume that if you agree that an RSVP is "giving your word" then you will not have problem with the tone of this post.  If you are one who regularly ignores your RSVP's based on any number of situations you may not agree with me. For goodness sake, yes, there are occasional exceptions.... but if you cancel on people, change plans at the last minute, or skip out on things more than once a month then this post is for you!

When meeting with your biggest client is the item on your calendar you will find a way to show up.  If people know when they see your nametag on a table that you "always RSVP's and never actually come" then you have a reputation problem.  Sorry, it happens.. but at business events people scan the nametag table on the way out the door to see who is a no-show.  In social situations people's feelings get hurt when you do not keep the appointment (it can hurt friendships if you do it more than once).

I would love to hear your thoughts on this....

Have A Great Day

thom singer


Anonymous said...

People often call the day of a coffee or lunch meeting and say "something has come up with a client". What this really means is "something more important than you has come up".

Some associates do it so often I put notes in my calendar to expect them to reschedule. The funny thing is none of them see fault in their actions. They are focused on themselves and never wonder if I skipped something else to meet with them. It is SELF CENTERED to cancel at the last minute and yes, they are liars.

Brian Beasley said...

Many who get upset with the tone of your post, Thom, are probably guilty of failing to show up. At best, they are inconsiderate; at worst, they are self-centered.

It distresses me that so many are so casual about breaking their commitment. I care not whether it is a social or professional event, once you RSVP, you have made a promise.

I am passionate about commitment; it is your word and speaks to your character. If you aren't true to your word, you can't be trusted.

You speak the truth, Thom, and I applaud you for challenging those who fail to respect and honor their commitments.

Be accountable. Be respectful.

Anonymous said...

Self centered is common.

Thom Singer said...

Last night I had RSVP'd to attend a party at SXSW. But the wicked rain meant I could not get to the venue, and I did not make it.

I kept thinking of this post. I had said I was going to attend, and I basically did not keep my word. There was no way to reach the host (as it was a company)... but I will send an email on Monday to my contact there and apologize for missing the party.

I am not justifying my actions, I am pointing out that things do come up (like pouring rain and a long walk).... but that does not mean I am right for skipping the party. I still think an RSVP is your word, thus I will apologize, not ignore it.