Executive Communications 101: Following Up

doorbell-143467_1280A meeting or a phone call with a valued person is a cause for celebration. People, however, many not keep the event in the forefront of their mind as you would. However, not everyone will keep your business communications at the forefront of their minds. If you are awaiting a green light to begin a project, you must follow up on your lead. Do not follow up hours after you first approach your new client afterwards; instead, wait at least three days. What is important to you is not crucial for everyone. Being forward will come across as pushy, which could cost you the project. After at least three days, send a follow up communication that is polite and professional, like the one below.

Good morning Mr. Donovan,
Thank you for the {meeting, project, or call}. It was great speaking with you and I just wanted to follow up to check if further information was needed. I look forward to working with you.
Kindest regards,
Maureen Castellon

Unless the person or people you communicated with state otherwise, never use their first name. Some professionals will tell you right away to call them Dave or Bucky right away. Others will just assume you understand that they want to be addressed formally by not allowing the formalities to drop. Follow their lead – if they do not allow the formalities to drop, neither should you. Making yourself comfortable with them is tacky and a touch disrespectful.

Be specifically grateful
The person that who gave you their time did not have to do so. Acknowledge this with a simple thank you. Be specific with about the nature of the communication in case as, sadly, they may have forgotten your big moment. This is not to say that you are unimportant, but busy people can sometimes forget anything that isn’t circled in red on their calendars.

Gently remind
If the project has failed to advance and you are unsure as to why lay the blame on yourself. Get them your client off the hook by simply writing something as innocent as checking that asking them if they have everything needed. This gives them an out in case they forgot and are embarrassed to say so, and it. This will put you in a more favorable light with them because you were not pushy.

Make a connection
People want to be acknowledged. Writing ‘I look forward to working with you’ forges a connection that will grow as you work together makes a connection that may solidify. It is also a way of saying there are no hard feelings resulting from the delay. An alternative would be to say ‘I look forward to making this project a reality’. Do not say ‘I can’t wait to begin’ or something that implies a deadline. The priority is the person and not the project. Close out the email with ‘Kindest regards,’ followed by your name.

Be formal in your greeting unless stated otherwise by the recipient(s). Be specific about something they did for you as a professional, as it was on their time. Allow yourself to be the scapegoat by taking a light form of responsibility via not enough information on your part for the delay. For the final few lines, connect with the recipients as humans who are also hustling.

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