Following Up vs. Following The “Out”
Many of us have heard the phrase “follow up or fail” but do we actually take it to heart? We know that we need to follow up but often we don’t because we are afraid of what the other person might say, we’re afraid of looking needy, or we’re afraid that the other person will think we are annoying and never want to speak to us again. Ask yourself right now if any of the above points resonate with you. If the answer is yes, then you are following the “out” instead of following up.
Simply put, when you tell yourself anything negative about how someone will respond to your request for contact you are giving yourself an out. By telling yourself someone is too busy you don’t have to deal with how uncomfortable it is to reach out to them a 2nd or (gasp) 3rd time.
I often will tell people if they don’t hear from me about something to follow up with me and 90% of them never do. When I ask why they never followed up, they tell me that they didn’t want to bother me. My response: “I gave you permission to bother me. Bother me!”
The out is easy. If you follow the “out” you never have to worry about someone getting upset with you or calling you annoying. Conversely, you never are going to get the opportunity to meet people who are incredibly busy or at higher levels. You can change your entire life by committing to following up, since most people follow the “out.”
The landscape of communication has changed considerably. We are on overload with tweets, facebook messages, LinkedIn inmails, and more. Our inboxes are jam-packed with requests on our time and attention. That means that if someone forgets to follow up with us, they usually end up at the bottom of an email pile or, worse, forgotten entirely.
Take a moment now to commit to following up. Take a moment to remind yourself that everyone is busy and just because they did not respond to you immediately (or for a couple weeks) doesn’t mean that they don’t want to speak to you. That is following the “out.”
Think of someone right now who hasn’t responded to you and follow up with them. As long as you are not emailing them every single day and being the business version of the kid in the car screaming “Are we there yet?” chances are they will not be mad.
And, honestly, if you politely follow up and someone is rude to you, you do not need them in your life anyway and I don’t care how famous they are.
If you want to meet someone, then YOU are the deciding factor in whether it happens or not. So stop agonizing over the non-response and start doing something about it. Watch how things change and soon enough . . .
People will be using this same advice to get a meeting with you.