A few weeks ago, I met a lady at my International Association of Business Communicators’ meeting. She is also an IABC member, but she lives in Dallas and was just visiting Nashville for a conference. Her name was one I’d never heard before, but I thought it pretty: Elke. Maybe she said it was a Scandinavian name. I immediately connected with Elke during the networking part of our meeting, and then when we took our seats, she had her things next to mine. Serendipity. I felt a sort of kindred connection.
I had to leave the meeting early that day, but I found out in the little time we had that she runs a marketing consulting business. She had been in the corporate world for 14 years and decided it was time to go out on her own. We exchanged business cards and promised to connect again. As I usually do, I LinkedIn with my new acquaintances the next day. Elke wrote back right away and she set up a time to call. The day of our phone call, she emailed me and said she was sick. We kicked our meeting back a couple of weeks. Usually, that’s an indication that someone really isn’t going to follow up with you. I didn’t know for sure if she would call.
The time for our call came and went; she didn’t call so I thought that would be it. But a few minutes later, the phone rang, and “Elke” popped up on the caller ID. We chatted comfortably, way beyond our allotted time. She gave me ideas, and I gave her ideas. The conversation was so pleasant, and mutually beneficial. She’s definitely someone I will connect with again.
DAY 357 HOMEWORK: Often we meet people we feel comfortable with, and we say we’ll get together “soon,” but then stuff gets in the way, and we forget, or we put it off for so long that we chicken out. It’s time to stop that pattern. If you connect with someone, follow through. Don’t wait for the other person. You initiate the second (or third or fourth) contact. It may not build a strong friendship, but it might. At any rate, if you connect with someone, there’s a reason why, and a follow up conversation will give you a chance to know more.