Rejection Matters!

Posted on May 31, 2011

I just finished a consulting gig weeding through a mountain of proposals for a client’s web design project. I created an applicant spreadsheet, had the client select 10 for second interviews and then five for presentations. I proceeded to create a rejection letter for those not selected. Cut, dried and over – including the client’s refusal to notify the rejectees. “They’ll figure it out,” was the bland reply.

Thinking about all the blood, sweat and tears poured into resumes, cover letters, business proposals, media queries, article drafts, etc. that never got the kindness of a reply, I could not let this one go. I objectively sent out the rejection letters as a consultant on the project. While I braced for nasty reply emails, I received nothing but affection…for REJECTION mind you! The attention-starved business-seekers actually thanked me for replying and almost heralded me a hero for acknowledging their existence. Several even asked what could be done to make improvements for future bids. Not the response I expected. And a good lesson for the future.

Rejection doesn’t have to be harsh. Silence is harsher. And, avoiding the obvious is just plain rude. Nothing I did was personal or mean-spirited. In all honesty, it used to be the normal completion to a standard business process. The recent phenomenon that saying no should be avoided at all costs (not just in business, either) is a mis-perception that could be remedied with a little diplomacy and practice. Business’ can’t grow if they don’t know. And, they can’t know if someone doesn’t tell them.

Summer Tomato Bites

16 large cherry tomatoes, cut in half and paper-towel dried.
1 container herbed Boursin cheese spread
6 mint leaves

Top each tomato half with Boursin cheese and a piece of fresh mint leaf. Serve cold.

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