Ah, the last of the trilogy. In movie series, this is where I want the author to so desperately put everything together for me. Well, I won’t make any promises here, but let’s get to it anyway. My final H in the list of follow up fowl ups that chap my hide is quite simply, the “I’ll promise, but I won’t do it.”
Let me just get it out of the way, I hated dating. Did you? I mean the games, the nights wondering, “she said this but did she mean something else?” As if that was not brutal enough, there was the, “I’ll call you.” I can’t tell you the number of times I would do my best to treat my date right by bringing flowers, planning a great evening, taking time to talk with them to get to know them and all of that, only to be put on the “Do Not Call Back List.” Then, there’s the awkward moment where you see the person three weeks later in a public place and have to ask yourself, “Do I run and dodge them or just act flakey?”
In my business, follow up is king. If I promise someone I will do something and do not follow up, it is a major strike against my company. As a talent consultant, the first four dates with a candidate are all about setting the stage for a great movie and convincing the candidate they are the next leading star. If I forget to call them back, or don’t email them when I tell them I will, it spells death for any actions I did leading up to that point. Especially with the market today, people are a lot more skeptical than before. If you say that you will do something, be sure to follow through because you might surprise your candidate, prospect, client, or end-user by doing something other companies promised they would do.
At the risk of sounding contradictory, doing either number I or number II would be better than doing nothing at all. Here are some final tips for ways to avoid abbreviating Follow Up and taking the route of F/U:
- Be intentional: If you are going to follow up, write it down and follow through.
- Be specific: Don’t promise something if you can’t follow through. For both party’s sakes, be specific with the time of the follow up. “I will follow up with a call on Friday.” Specific, Friday. Not so Specific, What time? No need for a time, you’ve given yourself a day.
- Be present: Make sure you are “there” when you’re talking to them and not simply going through the motions. The worst you could do would be making someone take the time to listen to you when you’re just going through the motions. If you do this, you’ve killed your brand.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “This is common sense,” I would agree with you. Unfortunately, if you are exposed to any business outside of your own, chances are, you will fall prey to the culture seeming to be rampant. This is the culture of…. Well, abbreviate Follow Up.
Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help organizations incorporate best practices into their business to help them succeed. In his free time, he also writes a lot on his other blog, Christian Men, Christian Warrior.