We’re all busy, right? We all have a never ending ‘to do’ list – work tasks, household tasks, birthdays to buy for and admin to do.
How important is it to you that you do the things you say you will – keep your promises? Sure, we all forget the odd thing but how frequently are you doing the things you promised? 90% of the time? 75%? Perhaps as low as 30%?

Why doing what you said you would matters

Doing what you said you would is all part of your image. Do you want to be seen as reliable, someone that does what you say you will? Think about what is communicated by not doing what you said you would…Imagine you go to a networking event, various people you strike up a conversation with offer to send you information on an event or connect you to a certain person but they never actually do it. How does that make you feel?
It certainly makes me feel that they aren’t worth bothering with that much, I lose respect for them. The worst is when they are super enthusiastic at the time then I don’t hear from them and they don’t respond to a call or email. What’s the point if we’re never going to develop the relationship beyond the conversations we have at the event? I would prefer they’d been less enthusiastic at the event, committed to less but actually done it! It’s completely pointless if there’s a good conversation at an event, commitments made both ways then nothing actually happens as a result.
It makes me feel that the original encounter wasn’t genuine and that they were full of fluff and no substance. When I see them again at another event, it makes me think twice about talking to them and certainly stops me from referring a potential client to them. After all, if they don’t then respond well to that person, that risks my reputation. People forget that everyone we meet has a network, full of great potential clients and connections.  People also forget that there are lots of people out there that do similar work to us, nobody is indispensable and there will always be someone else to refer a client to or connect one of our contacts with. It is essential to keep your networking promises.
When I run my networking  workshops, I work with people on skills and confidence right through from making the decision to go to an event through to following up after the event. A big part of what we cover is how to get permission to follow-up (so it’s less difficult when you come to do it) and how to do it. I always make the point that if you don’t do it, the whole event has been a complete waste of time and you are essentially breaking a promise you have made. The follow-up might be to organise a coffee and talk further about how you help your clients or to send them some information you promised. Both are very important and it’s vital you do whatever you said you would so that you maintain a positive image of yourself and your reputation.
Often whether or not we do something we said we would comes down to 2 things:

  1. Whether we remember
  2. How important we judge it to be

How to make sure you keep your networking promises

The way to tackle number 1 is simply a matter of having a process in place so you don’t forget. What that process is, depends on what works best for you. It might be the traditional, hand written ‘to do’ list. Although what can happen is that the list gets longer and things get forgotten. A really effective method that I have started using recently is setting reminders in my calendar. Now of course if you ignore your calendar this method is no good! At the start of each day, I see which tasks are in the diary and either plan when to do them or do them straight away. At the end of the day, I check I’ve done them all and if I haven’t I move them to another day. It means that time sensitive tasks don’t get lost on a list somewhere.
Point 2 is about repositioning the commitment you made in your mind. Although you may think that something is not that important and perhaps diminish how beneficial it could it be to the person you promised it to, it could be really important to them. Even if it’s not, it reflects negatively on your image. By not doing what you said you would, you are potentially causing negative feelings about yourself that will affect the image they have of you. You want to avoid a negative image of yourself being so easily created (especially if it was positive when you met them – you don’t want to destroy that good work).
After all, how long will it really take to send them that email with the promised information or the connection? The negative image is so avoidable! Even if you can’t see that they will ever be your client, maintaining your image and keepign our networkign promises is key. It’s always great to be able to help others out too. Also, remember their network…

What now?

So what have you not done that you committed to? Run through the people you have met recently and think about what networking promises you made. What can you do to make sure you keep your promises? Then either do it today or schedule it in your diary/add to your list! To read my complete guide to networking at events click here.

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Wedding Image: FreeImages.com/Kuger13