That stands for follow up. You can schedule all the one-on-ones humanly possible. Without following up on the action items discussed during your one-on-one, the entire meeting is pointless.
Last week’s e-newsletter talked about some of the musts for one-on-ones. One of those was concluding the meeting with next steps or action items. So, if you say you’re going to introduce the other person to somebody in your network that means putting a timetable on it—I will introduce Steve to Jonathan within three business days.
Part two of that timetable is if Steve doesn’t hear anything from me or Jonathan, then Steve should follow up with me and ask if I have done anything yet. This follow up on Steve’s part should be after three business days.
There’s two tips involved here. First, take action on your action items ASAP. As soon as you get back to the office if possible. Procrastinating on these things takes away from the positive momentum you will probably have from the one-on-one. It can also make you look like the person who talks a good game in a one-on-one but doesn’t back it up.
Second, if you don’t hear back from somebody after the agreed upon action items and timetables, do not be afraid to give that person a call and ask what’s up. We all get busy. There probably was no intent to neglect. Still, you should make the call to continue the momentum of the one-on-one and demonstrate to the other person that you are serious about passing leads and referrals. That said, make sure you have acted on your action items as well before making that call.
Think of the follow up as the bit on the old Seinfeld episode when Jerry went to the airport and found out his reservation for a car rental did not guarantee a vehicle.
“You took the reservation but you didn’t KEEP the reservation. And that’s really the most important part.”
As a great of a meeting as you might have had during the one-on-one, you have to do the follow-up in a timely fashion for it to have real impact. That really is the most important part.