Warning – How you mishandle an RSVP can tarnish your professional image

RSVP etiquette epidemic

Does this drive you crazy? You’re trying to organize an event but when you send out the invites with an RSVP request, no one gets back to you. Okay, not no one, it just feels that way, but very few people get back to you.

What’s up?

Don’t people in business understand what RSVP means? Wikipedia describes an RSVP as an abbreviation for Répondez s’il vous plaît, or please reply (used at the end of invitations to request a response). This really translates to “Please, pretty please with sugar on top, let me know whether you’re going to attend or not attend, so I can make some plans.”Bad RSVp etiquette can ruin your professional image

So RSVP or else…

Or else what?  Or else you will damage your reputation by not responding.

What we think about people who don’t RSVP:

  • They don’t value our time
  • They don’t value us
  • They are inconsiderate
  • They’re not very reliable
  • They’re not very professional

How to ruin your image

Wow, this is not the way to build relationships and your professional presence. Plus it makes it difficult to plan properly when people don’t respond in a timely manner, if at all.  We’re left wondering if the reason they leave things to the last minute is that they don’t want to miss out on a better offer.

Even more important for volunteer events

It’s not just in a corporate or business setting. Professional Image tip – the way we ‘show up’ in our volunteer activities says more about us than any other role we accept.  When you respond to my invitations, it means that I matter enough to you to demand some of your attention and that you value my time, it impacts trust.

People notice

BTW if you don’t like it when people don’t RSVP to you, for the sake of your own image make sure that you RSVP to others. So our image advice is the next time you receive an invitation, even if it’s weeks away, respond immediately yea or nay, it will make you stand out…in the right way.

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Posted by Joanne Blake – the Corporate Image Consultant and RSVP etiquette follower (most of the time)

About the author 

Joanne Blake

Canadian speaker, corporate image consultant & business etiquette expert. If you're interested in booking a presentation, keynote or coaching, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

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  1. Don’t you wish you could just tune them up and give them apiece of your mind about how difficult non- RSVPers make your life. I know I sometimes do, but I’ m the business etiquette guy and must set a good example.
    A friend who sets up in-house events for her company shared that she includes a special offer in her invites “special perks” for those that RSVP like donuts for thse that RSVP and make her life easier.

  2. What do I do when people don’t reply? Assume they are not coming? And if they reply YES but then they don’t show up, am I allowed to say anything?
    I even tell people that a “Maybe” is ok and I don’t get a response.

    I can see for a large cocktail party, or an open house, that if something comes up that’s the way it sometimes goes. But for a training course or a lunch, where there are facility limits and costs involves it bothers me a lot.

    Thanks for publishing this – but I think you are likely preaching to the choir here. so some tips on how to handle non-rsvp-ers and no-shows would be great.

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