Everyday we make so many commitments talking near water cooler, during networking event, in a meetings or over the phone. Some of our commitments are urgent and important and we follow-up properly. There are other few commitments that we know are not so important for us or our job since we made those casually by saying that, ” I will get back to you on this” ….. and then we drop the ball.
While searching my twitter handle using online tool called topsy.com, I found out that Tim Sanders had selected my retweet and asked to have him contacted (How a retweet can enrich your library) to give out a book. This was a contest he ran during September 2009, and I found out about results in May 2010. I follow Tim on Twitter and had retweeted him.
Anyhow, I sent him a note in May 2010 referencing the contest and asking if I can still get the book although I was very late to contact? Guess what, I got an email from Tim enquiring about my mailing address so that he can ship me the book. I provided it and almost forgot about it.
Few days ago, I got another email from Tim checking if I have received the book or not? I actually have not. But the point is taking the time to follow-up. This follow-up raised Tim’s stock in my mind even higher.
Going the extra mile (by a person who might be super busy and owes nothing in return) reflects that person practices what he preaches. He is true to his brand.
Here are 4 points to remind us on closing the loop on our commitments we make casually –
- Always make a note of your commitments: I keep a small notebook handy and make a note against a hand drawn box that can be checked (kind of to-do list).
- Prioritize and record follow-up action: I evaluate what can wait and what should be attended right away based on my schedule.
- Take the action or delegate it: Do it and check the box on notebook by recording observations.
- Check that commitment is fulfilled: This is what I will be implementing. I will follow-up after I fulfill the commitment. If you delegated the task, verify that person delivered the results.
If you have made a commitment and its low in priority or you have found out that you can no longer fulfill it, just inform the person expecting from you and close the loop. Remember to follow-up and close the loop. Do not leave anything with loose ends. I guess this is one of the key ingredient to build brands.
I have been a shy networker before. I attended the meetings/conferences with many business cards in my pocket but I rarely exchanged business cards and developed any new contact. I had good questions in my mind to ask but hoped that someone else would ask. It wasn’t working out for me.
After reading many books, studying other successful people and learning from some of my friends – I found out where I was failing. I was mainly staying in the group of people I knew. I had objective to gain from the event but not to contribute something in some way. I hoped someone else will show interest in me and will strike conversation and only phrase I used to initiate conversation was, “How are you today?”. I got rid of shyness, gain confidence and equipped with knowledge by knowing that we all have unique styles of interaction and capabilities. Asking question or solution proposed to clarify any issue will not only help me but many others. We all benefit from each other thru interaction. Now, one of my friend says, if I am not working then I am networking. I guess, its good compliment!
It’s not what you know but who you know that makes the difference. – Anonymous
Networking is the must-have capability for any professional these days. We all need good networking skills and should take advantage of connections we develop at any professional symposium or meeting. Networking is absolutely the primary technique that is used to find new job opportunities, career transition or career advancement. While we all attend various meeting, active on LinkedIn (and social media) and attend seminars with networking as one of the objectives; but many times it is not accomplished that well.
Here are 7 points to keep in mind for effective networking at any event –
- Setup your agenda for the event & find what unique perspective you bring.
- Choose your sessions in advance if its multi session event and jot down your questions on the topic.
- Arrive early to meet people; also participate in the sessions by asking questions or sharing your perspective.
- Sit with strangers and introduce yourself – don’t wait for others to make move.
- Initiate conversations – go beyond “Hi, how are you?”. Show interest in others and listen.
- Share expertise and help people solve issues discussed, make note of what you offered to the new contact.
- Follow-up with your new contacts after you get home.
Other Useful Link –
I volunteer at my PMI (Project Management Institute) local chapter called Great Lakes Chapter (www.pmiglc.org). I enjoy the benefits of PMI membership in form of monthly magazine called PM Network and accompanied paper called PMI Today. Both are informative and I have gained a lot by reading both publications.
Many people join organizations enthusiastically and then with very little involvement and different priorities, fail to renew annual membership and later claim that they did find not much benefit of membership. Becoming member in your professional organization and participating actively gives you opportunity to network with best people in your trade and increase your domain knowledge.
I found couple of interesting benefits while reading PMI Today paper and thought of sharing it with you. Here are the benefits-
- Attend PMI meetings/events at discounted price;
- Networking opportunities with professionals in management;
- Read PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge);
- Read business books on-line;
- Download a global standard;
- View the results of PM research projects;
- See articles from PMI publications for the last 7 years;
- Search for jobs, consult with a career coach and have your resume critiqued;
- Request a custom research;
- Order books and other materials at a discounted price;
- Use a career framework to help guide your career; and
- Get PM Network and PMI Today publications.
I would suggest that if you are in project management, get involved with www.PMI.org, join your local chapter and participate in making project management indispensable for business results.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!
Referenced – PMI Today – April 2008
We, as a professional, are hired by organizations to deliver results and perform. As time passes, our daily job becomes our universe. We spend our energies resolving problems, improving processes, saving money and many other good things. Sometimes we are ignorant and sometimes we are so busy handling all the situations at the job, we do not realize that whole world has changed and we are still there. We find that new technologies, processes, ideologies, concepts and trends have taken over what we used to do. And when we realize, then blame our employer for not guiding us, showing us the right path, etc. Remember, we are professionals and professionals know all about their field of expertise.
When I see clueless people in the situations when their cheese (i.e. work) is moved (or gone), I tell them to stop complaining but learn the lesson from it and take action.
Here are 11 points I tell (and remind) people to avoid becoming obsolete –
- Subscribe to professional/trade magazines and journals and read ( or go to library, but stay up-to-date on what is happening).
- Bookmark and frequently checkout websites dealing with news & views related to your field of expertise.
- Read some good books on the subject. Check Amazon.com’s ratings and views before buying.
- Become member & get involved in professional organizations in your chosen field.
- Volunteer your time & services in your chosen field or for any good cause.
- Mentor and guide other people, help people grow, offer help selflessly.
- Attend seminars or conferences; it does not matter if you got to spend few hundreds from your own pocket and on yourself.
- Read some good self-help books on personal development and personal finance.
- Grow your network, if good people can not find you; you go out and find for your networking. Interaction is the key.
- Always keep learning new things in your chosen field, and
- Change with time.
You will find out many successful people are already doing these above mentioned things to grow their professional network and knowledge base.
I am certainly interested in what you got to say on this subject. Everyone has unique experience and lets share our thoughts and learn from each other.
Thank you for visiting and reading the post. I appreciate it. Have a good time.