Not following up is the kryptonite to networking! Just ask Superman.

One of the best ways to never do business with anyone you meet is to never follow up with them. It’s all about the FU as one of my clients likes to say.

Remember the days when you had a stack of business cards in a snarl of rubber bands on your desk? That stack often represented all the FU you didn’t do. (Hey, that rhymes!)

There are really only a few reasons for following up with anyone – to learn more, share more information, schedule an additional appointment, provide an introduction, get an introduction, or get an answer. That’s really it.

Whether it’s communication through a text, email, LinkedIn, or the phone (there’s an app for that by the way) practice following up on action steps within 24 hours of making them if possible.

Here are three best practices for following up:

Make the Commitment at the Moment

The time to make the promise to follow up or follow through on something is when you’re having the conversation in real time. No time like the present! If you make the promise face to face (or screen to screen), you’re more likely to honor your commitment.

Set Expectations about Timeframe

When you make your promise, commit to a specific timeframe – especially when you can’t get to it in 24 hours. There is power in declaring a deadline. Keep in mind that establishing a deadline will give the other person permission to follow back up with you if you miss the mark. This would be a little added incentive to hit your deadline. What gets measured gets done.

Post in your Calendar

One of the best productivity tips is to schedule action steps in your calendar. Follow up related tasks are no different. I will often schedule time after meetings to complete my action steps almost immediately. This practice helps me to complete tasks while they are still fresh in my mind and allows me to get more work completed throughout the day.

Have you ever had someone make a promise to you when you’re networking, and you had to remind them? It may feel a bit weird, but it also doesn’t leave you the best impression of them.

What impression would your quick follow up make?

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