How to Handle Follow Ups

So… you have a meeting with Dave. It goes well. Dave is interested in doing business with you, but he has to check with his bosses. What do you do? (This is a two part question, really. How do you handle Dave and how do you handle the resulting “tasks?”)

I will say, “Great, Dave. Glad you’re interested. Don’t want you to make a premature commitment. How long do you think it will take to chat with the powers that be?” 

Dave will likely say, “Couple of day, definitely by the end of the week.”

To which I will respond, “Fantastic. But, if I don’t hear from you, MAY I FOLLOW UP WITH YOU NEXT MONDAY?” So, I’ve given him the power to say no. In other words I’m not being pushy, but I am capitalizing on his good feeling and our positive momentum. I sorta makes him commit to the time frame he gave me. And, it gives me permission to contact him again at a certain agreed upon time without being annoying. Everybody wins!

That’s a great tip for business, relationships, boundaries, self-doubters, etc that I picked up somewhere over the years. I regret that I do not remember where so I can’t give credit where it is due. But, what do we do now? We have ADHD and Monday might as well be the end of days. (Will it come? When? Will I know what’s happening, when it comes?…) 

Here’s my suggestion. If you read my blog, work with me, or have heard me speak you know of my devotion to the To Do List (as I teach it.) So, you’ve got a bad ass, super functional to do list. And you know that you can’t put stuff on your TDL that can’t be done. It’s Tuesday. You can’t put: Follow up with Dave on Monday on your TDL. It would taunt you for 6 days and by then you’d tune it out. What to do?

Put it on your calendar as soon as you meeting is over with Dave. Set a reminder that will pop up on your phone. That way, that task doesn’t exist until Monday. Which is nice because 20 minutes later we’ve forgotten about it. But don’t stress. We have a strategy. When Monday rolls around, that reminder comes up on your phone. “Pop Quiz, Hot Shot. What do you do now?” You could call or email Dave to follow up. But let’s be honest… that’s not likely. You might get distracted, be busy at that moment, need to do something urgent first, finish watching the episode of The Walking Dead you are engrossed in. Let me be the first one to tell you that that is okay.

BUT IT IS ONLY OKAY IF YOU ACCOUNT FOR THE TASK FIRST. THAT IS WHEN YOU PUT IT ON YOUR LIST. Now you can’t forget it because it’s on you list. This is also a great example of how tasks and time interact. Essentially, what you’ve done is remind yourself to add a task to your list in 6 days. Simple and it works!

Standard disclaimer: I don’t edit much if at all. This is a deal I have made with myself. It keeps me from being frozen in the metaphorical carbonite of perfectionism or falling into the “Sarlacc” of avoidance behavior. A new post done is always better than a perfect post undone.

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