As children, our parents, teachers and other role models work hard to instill proper manners… say “please” and “thank you,” no elbows on the table, put your napkin on your lap, look people in the eye when you shake their hand, etc. And then there’s the old adage, treat others as you wish to be treated. Here’s one more I’m sure we all learned, but so many of us have trouble honoring it: When you make a promise… keep it! Or, if you prefer, when you say you’re going to do something… do it!
Believe me, I’m just as guilty as the next person of falling down on this particular item. We all have the best of intentions. In the moment, our energy is targeted, focused, ready to take care of business. And then life happens. We get pulled in all kinds of other directions, we’re slammed with unexpected responsibilities and, little by little, we have a tendency to forget to take care of business.
That’s why when a friend of mine shared this rule for success, I glommed onto it:
“The meeting isn’t finished until you’ve followed up.”
The rule is attributable to Cynthia Kyriazis, Productivity Coach and Strategist with Productivity Partners, Inc. I asked Cynthia to say more about what she meant and her response was, “It’s about closing loops.” Going further, she said:
Communicating effectively is part of productivity…one-on-one, one-on-a-team, meetings, email and voicemail. When someone asks you to do something, the loop isn’t closed when you say ‘yes’…the loop is closed when you do what you committed to or were assigned…and then let the others know. It’s no different in meetings where you have one-to-a-group discussion. The discussion isn’t closed until the assignment is made, the task is done and there is a mechanism to report back outcomes. Accepting an assignment doesn’t mean much if there’s no action.
It’s far too easy to have a great meeting with someone and simply walk away. So, I ask you then, what was the point of the interaction? If you really want to set the right tone, to make a good impression, to build rapport and trust and opportunity, you must – simply must – follow up!
Bottom line: It’s about personal responsibility. There it is again: Do what you say you’re going to do.
Follow up can happen in any number of ways. Pick your favorite(s):
- Send a [handwritten] thank you note
- Connect via LinkedIn
- Share some information, advice or a tip based on your conversation – could be a great article, the name of a book, a restaurant suggestion, whatever makes sense based on your interaction
- Make an introduction that has potential to be mutually beneficial to both parties
- Invite your contact to an event
- Suggest a next meeting or get together
Please help by adding to the above list. What does follow up look like to you? The CLC Community would be grateful if you would take a moment to comment.