Sitting in meetings and at networking events I often find myself trying hard not to roll my eyes when I am either with someone or meet someone and all they do is ‘name drop’ offering all these exciting connections and follow ups. Sometimes, to my amusement it becomes a competition with others in the meeting or conversation as to who can name drop and make promises of connections the most. Why do I roll my eyes? Because these people don’t follow up!
So there is one thing I will always do – I will always follow up and follow through. And I want to talk to you as to why this is so important.
It’s called integrity.
I have often been described by colleagues and friends as a woman of action. For many years, I never really understood why it was such a big deal. If anything I thought maybe my intention to help and connect may be misconstrued as being a bit of a nosy parker. But after years of being let down by lack of follow through by others and on the other hand, the utmost appreciation from people from my want to help, I realised, it’s not being nosy, it’s about being true to your word, and not using people’s names to just make yourself look good.
So here are my simple tips to giving freely without expectation of something in return and how I do follow up and follow through:
A potential client
My brother-in-law asked me last weekend, what do I do when a potential client calls me and it’s either not the right sort of work for me or I don’t have a good feeling about them. He asked me whether I just ignore them. I proceeded to explain to him that no matter who calls me, who they are, how senior or junior, I will always return a phone call or email. If I can’t help them or they are not the right fit for me, I will take the time to listen to what they need, and offer to spread the word amongst my network. And…. That is exactly what I do, I will spread the word amongst my network, sometimes even make a few phone calls to directly connect parties if anyone springs to mind. Why you might ask? You have nothing to gain. But I do, it’s called integrity and reputation of being true to my word.
Someone seeking advice
If someone wants to run and idea past you and is seeking your advice, what do you do? I get at least three people a week from all stages of life and industries reaching out wanting to connect and pick my brain. Now whilst I am unable to spend my whole working week in philanthropy mode (as much I would love to), I do make sure that I allocate some time each week to respond to these requests that come through. If it’s something I can help them with that really is no more than a quick coffee, then I give my time freely. All I ask of them is that when someone comes to them for help, that they pay it forward.
Some people think I am too generous with my time, but I know that bigger opportunities will come when I share some of my smarts, follow up and follow through.
Take this advice into your work and personal lives. When someone helps you freely, do what you can to pay it forward. When you say you will do something – regardless of immediate financial return, if you have offered to connect or follow up, do it. Because that integrity is what people will remember and will make a point of talking about you with others.