5 Tips for Dealing With Unresponsive People

5 Tips for Dealing With Unresponsive People

We regularly face difficult personalities in the workplace. And every so often, we need a strategy for dealing with unresponsive people. Here is a concise list of tips for dealing with unresponsive people.

Dealing With Unresponsive People

Unresponsive people often react to difficult situations by remaining silent. Some avoid their fears, to limit perceived personal risk, and become unresponsive and non-committal. Others use silence as an aggressive device to deny access.

Either way, unresponsive behaviour requires patience and tact.

He who does not know how to be silent will not know how to speak. – Ausonius

Ask open-ended questions

Ask open-ended questions. That is, those starting with what, why or how? This will, in time, show the person that you expect them to regularly engage with you.

Wait for a response

When you ask a question, be patient and wait for a response. Even though silence is uncomfortable, resist the temptation to step in and rescue them.

Listen actively

When they reply, be attentive, listen actively and allow them to be vague. Encourage them to add detail with additional open-ended questions.


When they do not respond, be ready to reschedule your meeting and revisit the issue again. Before breaking, summarize what was said and list any actions you will take.


Never allow the unresponsive person to believe that issues will be dropped if they continue to ignore or show apathy toward them. Always follow up, as this will show genuine interest in their ideas and result in more confident discussions.

Dealing with unresponsive people can be frustrating and difficult because of the communication barrier they put up. Use these tips and emotional intelligence, your other awareness to help them converse openly.

What advice would you give to someone dealing with unresponsive people? You are welcome to tell us about your successes in the comments.

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