Best Practices: Following Up

As both a freelance writer and a freelance editor, I’m on both sides of the following up game. I know how awkward it is to follow up with someone you’re trying to work for as well as how awkward it is with someone you’re working with.

But I’m here to tell you one thing I know for sure: PLEASE always follow up.

No matter what industry you’re in, you’re bound to have busy days or weeks or even months. Things can accidentally slip through the cracks. It’s not an act of malice, most of the time, when not getting back to someone. The fact is, you’re human and sometimes you simply forget to reply.

What we shouldn’t do in those situations is try to cover it up. I’ve learned the hard way more than once that isn’t the way to approach things. Just be honest with whoever you’re talking with and try to patch things up as quickly as possible.

I can guarantee that whoever you’re speaking to has let a message slide once or twice in their life as well. When handling correspondence it’s always best to admit fault, apologize and move forward in your working relationship.

One great way to make sure you don’t miss any important email responses is to set your email to alert you if you haven’t followed up or heard back in a set number of days.

Personally I use Gmail and my account is set-up with a 3 day notification. If I haven’t replied or haven’t heard back from someone in 3 days I’m prompted every time I go into my email to follow up. This helps keep me on track even when I’m buried in other email correspondence. The alert is even in a different color so it catches my eye even in my Gmail app.

When there is an extra important correspondence, I also add a notification to my phone calendar so I’m doubly sure to not miss out on the chance to chat with someone. As much as I love my planner, I know I can sometimes get caught up in other work and forget to check in on email if I’m waiting for something.

Technology has saved me more than once from making a terrible faux pas with my business colleagues. I hope perhaps it can be that saving grace for you as well.

Are there any ways you stay on top of correspondences? Let us know!

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