Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011, 3:54 pm
Follow-up Is Key
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Dawn Klingensmith, CTW Features
In business, there are certain types of favors that require more than sincere thanks in return.
Jodi Glickman calls this extra step “closing the loop,” or letting the person who helped you know how things turned out.
Especially when she sticks her neck out for people, Glickman, founder of the Chicago-based communication training firm Great on the Job, expects an update. But she also would have liked to know whether a young family friend got accepted into college after she helped him with his essays, since she had invested time and shared in the young man’s excitement.
Failing to close the loop is not just bad form but potentially puts relationships and prospects at risk. Glickman says she’ll think “long and hard” before doing her young friend another favor.
People appreciate recognition and follow-through. No matter the outcome, share what happened, she advises.
Perhaps the young essayist did not get accepted and was embarrassed. Yet he might have written: “While I’m disappointed, I do appreciate all your help. I am still waiting to hear from my second choice and will keep you informed.”
A recommendation certainly requires follow-up. So, too, does a professional introduction.
“With email and social media, I think introductions seem so easy now that sometimes referrals aren’t seen as significant,” says Brandi Britton, a Los Angeles-based district president for the staffing firm Robert Half International.
Depending on the type of introduction, a thank-you note and updates via e-mail may suffice; however, “If someone puts you in touch with a decision maker, a good old-fashioned handwritten note is a nice touch,” she adds.
There’s an on-the-books etiquette rule regarding introductions that makes certain no one is left out of the loop, at least not initially.
“If geographically possible, when you treat the new person to lunch or coffee, you invite the person who introduced you to that first meeting,” says Cynthia Lett, director and CEO of the Lett Group, a business protocol consulting firm in Silver Spring, Md.
Afterward, thank both individuals within 48 hours, Lett says.
A follow-up note need not be more than three sentences:
• Explaining why you’re writing (“Thanks for introducing me to John”);
• What happened or is going to happen (“I sent him my resume at his request”);
• And a positive future intent (“I’ll let you know what happens next” or “I’d like to treat you to lunch to show my thanks”).