Persistence is the New Politeness

When we were kids, we were taught to wait our turn – that Patience equaled Politeness.

Times have changed.  We all have more demands on our time and more distractions than ever before.

How many emails have you received today?  How many texts?  How many Facebook notifications, re-Tweets, insta-hearts and voicemails? Probably more than you want.  So it’s safe to assume that the person you reached out to for that coffee date, brain pick or referral also received a ton of requests for their attention.

So. Do I reach out again? Do I wait? If I reach out now, how exactly do I do it?

Surely every case is different, but my advice remains the same.  Persistence is the new politeness.

Reach out again, following these simple rules:

  1. Do your homework. Is this a cold call or a warm introduction?  We are all far more likely to respond to a friend or colleague than we are to even open a message from a name we don’t recognize.  Have you taken the right steps to get your foot in the door?  

  2. Avoid putting them on the defensive.  This isn’t the time to remind them that you STILL haven’t heard back.  Acknowledge how busy they must be, remind them why you are in touch and how it might benefit them to connect with you.

  3. Be brief.

  4. Offer a crystal clear directive.  Have an unmistakable call to action. If you want to meet, suggest three dates and times and ask what works best for them.

  5. Show appreciation. We learned this as children for good reason. A little expression of Thanks goes a long way.

It’s normal to feel a bit nervous choosing persistence, but I encourage you to try.  I’ve read email while working on a project or during a pause in a meeting and have simply forgotten to respond. I’ve been grateful for the occasional friendly reminder. Give persistence a try.