In life follow through and follow ups are important. It is relevant at work, in friendships, volunteer roles and even job search. Yet I see a lack of follow-ups happening all around me. Why can we not do what we say we will do? Is it easy to lose sight on those follow-ups because life or work keeps you busy? Sure. Is it necessary to follow up? In most cases it absolutely is.

I treat follow-ups as a necessity. And I respect those who follow up with me. At times I too get lost in the craziness of life. A reminder is just that and not an intrusion. And when I need more than one reminder, I am thankful for that persistence.

Some question persistence. Maybe you think of “pushy sales people” when you hear that word. Some may say it is not a positive characteristic. I would disagree. I have seen persistence pay off in my life and for those around me.

The art of persistence has been a part of my professional life for years. It started with my father. My dad has always been in sales where persistence is required. He shared a quote with me as I was preparing to graduate with my bachelor’s degree:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
- Calvin Coolidge

Can you go overboard with persistence and follow-ups? Yes. You don’t want to be a nuisance. My approach is pretty simple and straightforward on how to follow up to get the desired outcome without antagonizing the other person. And it is more of an art than a science.

1. Arrange the follow-up in your initial meeting. It is all about setting expectations. You can select the time and the medium for your follow-up. At the very least, the person will not be surprised when you reach out again.

2. Be informative and offer assistance. Always include a reference to your original conversation. Restate why the follow up is necessary to the desired outcome – that outcome should be beneficial to both parties.

3. Make a personal connection so that you drive a deeper connection with them. It helps to reference an earlier conversation or comment.

4. Always be respectful and positive.

5. Repeat as necessary. Don’t be overly aggressive but if the first reminder doesn’t get a reaction, try again. You might need a second and third attempt too.

6. Use technology to help you remember the follow-ups and related timing. Set up calendar reminders. You are likely just as busy as the person you are trying to reach!


Photo by: Amy E Mikel. Naples Botanical Garden. February 2016.