3 Tips on Response Time

How often have you heard, “I left them a message, but they didn’t respond or I never heard back”? Today we are busy. We are very busy, but that does not excuse us from basic, common, polite, practices like returning calls, messages or RSVP’s in a realistic amount of time.  So, what is the proper response time?

I am baffled at the number of people who do not respond to a wedding invitation properly. This couple has identified you as someone or a couple that they would like to attend one of the most significant days of their lives. Why wouldn’t you let them know if they need to pay for you?

At a time when communication options are plentiful, it is important that we respond in a courteous amount of time. You can talk in person, call, email, text, instant message, tweet, write, S.O.S, slide a note under a door, a message in a bottle, sign language, sky writing, etc.

The rules of protocol for response time are that you call or email within 24 hours of receiving the message, even if it is to say, “I don’t have an answer to your question but I am working on it.” Some kind of correspondence is necessary within 24 hours.

Here are some good rules of thumb on response time to keep you out of trouble.

  • Return all calls or emails within 24 hours.
  • RSVP within three days of receiving the invitation.
  • Thank-you notes are sent within one week of receiving the gift or gesture.

In a busy world like the one we live in today, we still need to make time for things that are important to us. The Proper corresponding protocol is important. It makes people feel appreciated, worthwhile and cuts down significantly on unnecessary frustration.

Colleen Harding is a certified etiquette and protocol instructor and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. Programs and packages available for children and businesses.