Seven Ways to Improve Your Results with Follow-up


What follows is a bold statement, but sometimes it takes a bold statement to get people's attention.

One of the most important and yet overlooked skills in business today is follow-up.

This applies to many parts of our business: Customer service and care, marketing, leadership, networking, branding, and more. It is a habit and a discipline that, when used effectively and regularly, will change your results and your life.

Here are seven ways to incorporate more follow-up into your practices - and therefore seven ways to increase your results.

1. Say thank you. First and foremost, the must-do follow-up habit is to say thank you. Send an email, make a call, or best of all, send a hand written note. Tell the Customer thanks for the new order. Tell the employee how much you appreciate their extra effort (or their normal effort over the long haul). Thank a person for a referral. Thank a colleague for the book or website recommendation. We all sent thank you cards after receiving graduation and wedding gifts. And while you may have done it because it was expected, it was really good practice for the rest of your life. I have a recurring task on my task list. It reads "Who do I need to thank today?" Who do you need to thank today?

2. Ask for feedback. After completing a project, meeting, training session, consulting engagement, or whatever, ask for some feedback. Preface your request by saying that you want to not only make sure that you have met their needs, but that you want to know how to continue to improve. Be open to what will be shared and show your gratitude, by referring to item 1 above.

3. Keep track. You've given an employee some coaching or help on a specific issue, so follow-up to see how it is going and how you can help now. You completed a project for a Client six months ago - so follow-up to see how it is going now and if the results match what had been expected. Follow-up isn't just a one time deal - it is an on-going commitment. You likely are interested in the progress others are making. Let them know by staying in touch and seeing how things are going and how you might be able to help.

4. Remain interested. This is one step beyond keeping track. It is remaining interested in the other person or group's progress over the long term. Continue to check back on progress. Remaining interested shows that you care and have made the effort to remember about events and goals important to the other person.

5. Remember important events. Holly on my team calls friends and colleagues on their birthdays and sings them Happy Birthday - live or on their voice mail. I have done this occasionally in the past - but have made it a more normal part of my routine as well. Why? Because it makes people smile. Your kids and parents expect a happy birthday wish, but do your Customers? Your employees? Your vendors? Maybe you don't sing, but you can still wish people happy anniversary, happy birthday or happy St. Patrick's Day - especially if they are Irish!

6. Share information you know matters to them. Have a colleague who has a rose garden? Send them the article about roses that you read last week. Have a co-worker who graduated from a certain college? Congratulate them when his team wins the big game. Have a Customer who loves tennis? Send them a link to the website you heard about that helps people improve their game. You get the idea. Follow-up by giving people information or comments that they know is just for them.

7. Have a plan. I have a process to call and track my conversations with my key contacts regularly. We have a process to connect with our most valued colleagues and Clients monthly. Our plan continues to be tweaked, but we have a plan because we know how important follow-up is. What is your plan?

Within my seven suggestions I have shared examples from all phases of business in order to show how pervasive and how valuable follow-up can be.

There is little about it that is hard. Being exceptionally good at follow-up requires focus, dedication, discipline, and a decision to do it. If you will make the decision you will become a more effective leader or supervisor. You will become a better networker. You will have greater sales. You will retain your relationships longer.

Any of these are reasons enough to make this decision. All of them put together prove my initial bold statement:

"One of the most important and yet overlooked skills in business today is follow-up."

Where are you going to start?

Kevin Eikenberry is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (KevinEikenberry.com">http://KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. To receive your free special report on "Unleashing Your Potential" go to www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp">http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.


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The father of the US soldier Humayun Khan talks about losing his son to the Iraq war and why it drove him to challenge the future president on live TV
Plus: An extract from Khizr Khan’s new book, An American Family

It remains a defining image of last year’s US presidential election. Khizr Khan, speaking at the Democratic national convention with his wife, Ghazala, by his side, produced a copy of the constitution from his jacket pocket, held it up for all to see, and offered to lend it to the then Republican candidate Donald Trump. It also remains the most eloquent response to Trump’s bigotry.

Khan, who grew up in a small village in Pakistan, was talking about the sacrifice his son Humayun had made for his country – America. Humayun was killed aged 27 in Iraq 13 years ago, protecting his men from suicide bombers. He is buried at Arlington cemetery, Virginia, alongside so many other war heroes, and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

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Zimbabwean president made ‘goodwill ambassador’ to promote health, despite dire health crisis under his rule

The United Nations faced criticism on Friday after naming Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a “goodwill ambassador” to promote health causes, despite the country’s dire health crisis under his rule.

The UN World Health Organization asked Mugabe to serve in the role to help tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa.

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President claimed he ‘called every family of someone who’s died’ as tensions flared with sergeant’s relatives and later gave himself 10/10 on Puerto Rico

Related: Trump feud continues as Florida congresswoman calls John Kelly a liar

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In a country where 343 LGBT people were killed in 2016, singer and openly gay drag queen Pabllo Vittar has become a symbol of resistance

Despite its permissive reputation and the wild, cross-dressing costumes seen at its street carnivals, Brazil is an increasingly dangerous country for LGBT people. According to the non-profit Bahia Gay Group 343 LGBT people were killed in 2016, compared to 260 in 2010.

Against this backdrop of prejudice, however, the country’s latest pop sensation is an openly-gay drag queen in a flowing platinum wig whose glossy pop videos have been watched hundreds of millions of times.

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Country’s treasured avian species puff up their plumage as nation votes on who rules the roost

Bird of the Year leaderboard – check the pecking order

First there was the “Jacinda effect” and a government to cobble together. Then came the mania for the jade Kākāriki, the shining cuckoo and the stern Ruru.

New Zealand’s Bird of the Year Competition has kicked off, and it has galvanised voters with the same intensity as the recent election. Now in its 13th year, the poll pits the country’s rare and endangered birds against one another: the cheeky Kea versus the shy Kiwi, the dowdy Bar Tailed Godwit against the alluring Hihi.

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Six of seven men on board are believed to have drowned as tragedy leaves fishing community shaken

Authorities have recovered the bodies of two men from the wreck of the fishing vessel Dianne, which capsized and sank off the Queensland coast with six crewmen on board.

Police divers spent Saturday battling rough conditions and poor visibility in the waters surrounding the vessel, which was discovered late on Friday 30 metres below the surface.

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Jesse Norman wants to make cycling safer, but sees local authorities and charities like Sustran as key facilitators, not government

Jesse Norman, the transport minister whose brief includes cycling, has only been in the job for six months but has already prompted controversy by insisting that cyclists follow the Highway Code, something criticised here on the Bike Blog.

In his office at the Department for Transport in Westminster, he comes across as affable and open – and talks the talk when it comes to bikes for transport.

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US government has until 31 October to approve a sponsor who could help the 17-year-old obtain an abortion

A US appeals court on Friday prevented an illegal immigrant teenager detained by the government from immediately obtaining an abortion, although it left open the possibility she could undergo the procedure within days.

The decision by a US court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit panel gave the government until 31 October to approve a sponsor, who could help the 17-year-old obtain the procedure without the government’s assistance.

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Tests confirm body is Santiago Maldonado, an activist missing since a security forces raid in August

A body found floating in the icy waters of a southern Argentina river could determine the result of midterm elections seen as vital for the right-of-centre president, Mauricio Macri.

The body is that of missing backpacker Santiago Maldonado, whose disappearance 81 days ago caused a political storm as the president seeks a vote of confidence on Sunday to continue his economic austerity programme.

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Highways England suggests change to combat congestion and reduce impact of repairs

Speed limits could be raised to 60mph through roadworks as Highways England tries to combat congestion and reduce the impact of repairs.

The government-owned company, which has been testing different speed limits since September 2016, found motorists’ heart rates were lower when driving faster through roadworks.

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Attitudes to harassment may be changing, but there are still huge hurdles for women around the world wanting to take cases to court

Global fascination with the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein revelations has focused on Hollywood, as well as parallel scandals in international sport and the music industry, but the #metoo stream on Twitter has dragged attention to less glamorous workplaces, highlighting how difficult it is for women to raise these cases, even in countries with strong legislation on sexual harassment.

The outrage has already prompted women in all sectors to seek legal advice about how to pursue sexual harassment claims. “We’re getting many more calls since the recent scandals; women are standing up in solidarity,” said Silvia Stanciu, an employment attorney specialising in discrimination for New York law firm Phillips & Associates.

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In an updated extract from the bestselling Enigma history, we revisit the daring engagement in which two men gave their lives to make a breakthrough possible

The top-secret breaking of the German Enigma code by Alan Turing, and the codebreakers working with him at Bletchley Park, was one of the greatest British coups of the second world war. It helped ships delivering vital supplies to the UK during the darkest days of the war to evade the packs of German U-boats trying to hunt them down, and enabled Britain to rebuild its strength and re-equip its armies in preparation for its bid to expel the Nazi armies from Europe.

Related: Eisenhower letter praising UK code breakers goes on display

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Diocese of Hereford proposes motion to allow official blessing after civil partnership or secular marriage ceremony

The Church of England will debate blessings for same-sex couples for the first time after a motion to discuss the issue was put forward by the diocese of Hereford.

Related: Scottish Anglican church faces sanctions over vote to allow same-sex marriage

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Proposal to decriminalise the drug came after police raided a makeshift laboratory where a group of women made cannabis oil for their sick children

Lawmakers in Peru have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill to legalise medical marijuana, allowing cannabis oil to be locally produced, imported and sold.

With a vote of 68-5, Peru’s Congress approved the bill which will be written into law in 60 days, once regulations for producing and selling cannabis have been set out.

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March elections prefaced by misgiving as Ernest Bai Koroma’s failure to put party leadership to vote rekindles memories of former dictator Siaka Stevens

A unilateral decision by the president of Sierra Leone to choose his successor as leader of the ruling All People’s Congress has raised fears about the future of democracy in the country.

Civil society organisations, including the government watchdog group Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), have voiced concerns that Ernest Bai Koroma’s failure to allow party members to vote for their new leader echoes the actions of former dictator Siaka Stevens, who on standing down in 1985 ushered Joseph Momoh into office.

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Health officials struggle to contain spread of disease after virulent pneumonic strain infects 800 people across island since August

The first fatality of Madagascar’s deadly plague outbreak – which has now claimed at least 74 lives – initially went unnoticed.

In late August, according to researchers with the World Health Organization (WHO), a 31-year-old man was visiting the island’s central highlands when he developed what appeared to be the symptoms of malaria.

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Campaigners warn foreign workers continue to suffer abuse and exploitation in UK households after failure of safeguards designed to protect them

Campaigners have warned that thousands of foreign domestic workers remain enslaved behind the closed doors of some of Britain’s wealthiest neighbourhoods after the government failed to implement safeguards designed to protect them from abusive and exploitative employers.

In the past year, the Home Office has issued 18,950 visas under its domestic workers in private households scheme, which allows foreign families to bring domestic staff with them when staying in the UK.

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Research shows that, despite ‘remarkable progress’ on child mortality, many of the 5.6 million deaths last year among children aged under five were preventable

The number of children who die before reaching their fifth birthday has fallen to an all-time low, yet children around the world continue to die at an alarming rate, with 5.6 million deaths recorded last year.

In its annual report on child mortality, the UN said many of the deaths – which averaged 15,000 a day in 2016 – were from preventable diseases.

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With fewer slaves in the world today than there have ever been, it would cost just £650 a head to usher it into extinction – so why hasn’t that happened?

How much will it cost to end slavery? About £26.7bn, the cost of five and a half aircraft carriers or the current market value of Snapchat. That works out to about £650 for every enslaved person.

In poor countries, where most slaves live, the cost of liberation and reintegration can be lower than this; in rich countries, it can be much higher. Unfortunately, in 2014 the world’s governments were spending about £95m a year on anti-slavery. That is likely to be higher today, but still far below what is needed to achieve change. If we are serious about slavery we will need to bring three key tools to the job: money, people, and knowledge.

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Natalia Kanem vows to take fight for women’s reproductive health to boardrooms and beyond as she rues ‘faulty and erroneous’ Trump funding cuts

The new head of the UN population fund has vowed to be more aggressive in promoting the agency’s message to business that protecting women’s reproductive health not only saves lives, but can boost earnings.

On her first visit to London after taking up the post of executive director of the UNFPA on 3 October, Natalia Kanem said she would take the message of no deaths in childbirth, no unintended pregnancies and no violence against women and girls “into the boardroom, cafeteria, wherever it is, so people understand that life-threatening consequences multiply into societal and economic consequences”.

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Sita Chhaudry was sold as a slave at 10 years old. Starved, beaten and denied an education, she has since been elected to local government – and is determined to fight poverty and human rights abuses

Sita Chhaudry became a slave for the first time just after her 10th birthday. Almost every year over the next decade, her parents would sell her again and again to wealthy landowner families, for the small annual fee of $50 (£38), to clean floors, cook meals and look after children.

As a “kamlari” – domestic bonded labourer – Chhaudry was beaten, starved and forced to work 12-hour days for families across the country, many of whom had travelled long distances to “recruit” a young servant as cheaply as her poor, lower-caste parents would sell her.

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Critics say move cosies up to agribusiness lobby in a bid to build support for President Michel Temer before a crucial vote over making him face trial

The Brazilian government has been accused of reducing its ability to protect workers from slave-like labour conditions after abruptly changing the rules. Campaigners, commentators and prosecutors said the move was a “social regression” aimed at buying the support of a powerful agribusiness lobby ahead of a crucial vote in congress that could cost President Michel Temer his mandate.

A government directive by the ministry of labour published on Monday redefined what the government defines as “slave-like work” – even though Brazil’s efforts to stop abusive labour conditions were praised as recently as last year by the United Nations.

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#MeToo has women sharing their stories of sexual violence. Is this a social media blip or can it really be a watershed moment?

As I walked home through Melbourne last Friday night, two men harassed me on the street. It was nothing notable, just your garden-variety harassment that most women are used to. One denigrated my appearance audibly to the other, who turned to him, laughed, high-fived him. “Good call, man!”

My face burned and my pace quickened, and they watched, laughing, as I walked away. Thanks, mates. Good call.

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Actor Alyssa Milano’s online call after the Harvey Weinstein revelations became a conversation about men’s behaviour towards women and power imbalances

It started with an exposé detailing countless allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. But soon, personal stories began pouring in from women in all industries across the world, and the hashtag #MeToo became a rallying cry against sexual assault and harassment.

The movement began on social media after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s most vocal critics, who wrote: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

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The US president got the 13% right, but not the cause – and he risks contributing to another increase: in hate crime

A US study of Donald Trump’s tweets this week concluded they tell you about him more than they spark deep, insightful policy debates.

But his sudden interest in the annual crime rate in England and Wales and his conflation of this week’s 13% jump in offences with “radical Islamic terror” attacks in Britain is likely to fuel another ugly statistic published by the Home Office this week.

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New Zealand’s new prime minister is one of 13 female heads of government in the world

Almost one month after voting day in New Zealand, 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern has become the country’s new prime minister. Ardern’s victory, which was a surprising coup for the country’s left, makes her New Zealand’s third female prime minister and its youngest leader in 150 years.

Related: How reluctant leader Jacinda Ardern charmed New Zealand

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Spain’s government has said it will push ahead with suspending Catalonia’s autonomy after the region’s leader refused to abandon secession plans

A little more than two weeks after the Catalan independence referendum, which plunged Spain into its worst political crisis in 40 years, the Madrid government has announced it will take the unprecedented step of suspending Catalonia’s regional autonomy and imposing direct rule.

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Murdered investigative journalist’s sons tell of attempts on their mother’s life, and why they blame a ‘takedown of the rule of law’ in Malta for her death

Looking back, they had known – perhaps for a long time – that it might end like this. With hindsight, says Matthew Caruana Galizia , red-eyed from emotion and lack of sleep, it seems obvious. “This wasn’t an aberration,” he says. “It was a culmination.”

The air in the family home in the hamlet of Bidnija, half an hour’s drive from the Maltese capital, Valletta, is thick with grief and quiet anger. Police guard the entrance to the gravel driveway and the cast-iron gates in front of the house.

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This week, senators moved to salvage the Obamacare subsidies Trump cut – but Washington remains confused over which way the president is swinging

Chuck Schumer was at the gym when his phone rang, just over a week after the latest version of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act foundered. It was Donald Trump calling the most senior Democrat in the Senate with an idea.

Related: Senators reach bipartisan deal to salvage Obamacare subsidies Trump eliminated

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Chinese president channelled Hugo Chávez with marathon 65-page sermon setting out vision for Communist party

Some call Xi Jinping a Chinese Putin. Others a 21st-century Mao.

On Wednesday morning he was China’s Hugo Chávez, testing his comrades’ eyelids – and their bladders – with a three-and-a-half hour, 65-page sermon in which he outlined his brave new vision for the Communist party, and the world.

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French president says speculation that Theresa May could walk away from Brexit talks without a deal is ‘noise, bluff or fake news’. Speaking at this week’s European council summit, Macron says negotiations have not even reached the halfway point and there is still ‘a lot of progress to achieve’

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The white supremacist Richard Spencer took the stage at the University of Florida on Thursday after his supporters threatened to sue if he was not allowed to speak. But minutes after he began to talk, the majority of the crowd of hundreds in the auditorium stood together, raised their fists and chanted: ‘Go home, Spencer! Go home, Spencer!’

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Known as the Eye of Bamako, Malick Sidibé took photos in dance halls, soirees and his studio. The largest ever exhibition of his work, on display at the Fondation Cartier in Paris until the end of February, includes images taken in the years after Mali’s independence from France in 1960

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Drone footage shows bombed-out shells of buildings in the northern city. Entire neighbourhoods appear to have been turned to rubble, with little sign of civilian life, after Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced they have driven out Islamic State after weeks of fighting  


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Paul Ryan was the keynote speaker at the 72nd annual charity dinner for the Alfred E. Smith Foundation. The Republican House Speaker took multiple swipes at US president Donald Trump over his tweeting habits, among other things. 'Look at all the new jobs the president has created, just among the White House staff.'

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Former President Barack Obama, back on the campaign trail for the first time since he left the White House, has appealed for unity in America. Without mentioning Donald Trump by name, Obama said: 'Instead of our politics reflecting our values, we've got politics infecting our communities.' He went on: 'If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you won't be able to govern them.'

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The former president  spoke at an event held at the George W Bush Institute on Thursday in New York. Bush says bigotry seems emboldened in modern America, along with a climate of discontent. He added that US politics appeared more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication

• Watch the full schedule os speakers at the George W Bush Institute 

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Jacinda Ardern has become New Zealand’s youngest prime minister, 26 days after the country went to the polls. The kingmaker, Winston Peters, said on Thursday that his New Zealand First party would support Ardern’s Labour party to create a coalition, displacing Bill English’s National party.

Jacinda Ardern to be New Zealand's next PM after Labour coalition deal

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Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, celebrates the victory of good over evil and the triumphant return of Lord Ram to the city of Ayodha after vanquishing Ravana in the kingdom of Lanka

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Jacinda Ardern is the new prime minister-elect of New Zealand after Winston Peters announced that his New Zealand First party would enter into a coalition deal. Ardern confirmed that NZ First’s nine MPs would have four cabinet roles and one junior role outside cabinet, though details of portfolios will be published next week. She said Peters was considering whether to accept her offer to become deputy PM. The Labour/NZ First coalition government will be a minority one, with a combined 55 seats, and will rely on a confidence and supply deal with the Green party’s eight MPs

Jacinda Ardern to be New Zealand’s next prime minister after Labour coalition deal

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