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Whether you’ve sent a job application, been for an interview, presented a business pitch, or just sent an email to someone, following up can be an awkward thing to do. On the one hand, you want to appear interested and enthusiastic, but on the other hand, you don’t want to seem pushy or needy, so how do you get the balance right and when should you do it?

Choose Your Time Carefully

If you want to follow up with someone without it being annoying, then don’t email or call them first thing on a Monday morning. Most people are inundated with emails and calls from over the weekend, and the first few hours are usually hectic.

Don’t add to this, be patient. Perhaps wait until after lunch or even Tuesday or Wednesday when they can give your request their focus. Think about when it’s a quiet time for you, when would you usually respond or catch up on emails. When are you generally free to take a call? Although it’s not the same for everyone, it’s an excellent place to start, and it’s always good to think about their needs ahead of your own.

Be Polite

This goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning. Don’t be annoyed that they haven’t got back to you yet, don’t ask them why and don’t give an opinion on this. Be kind in your email or phone call, ask them about their day, compliment them, and always say yours pleases and thank yous.

Acknowledge that you know they must be busy and you don’t want to chase, and you were hoping that you would be able to find a few minutes for you both to catch up. This will go a long way; no one wants to do business with someone rude, so it’s one of the easiest things so don’t lose out on a job or sale because you fail on this part.

Don’t Over Do It

Don’t email or call every day; it doesn’t look good; all it shows is that you don’t have any respect for that person’s time. Give it at least a week before following up the first time because if you leave too much time, then it can look like you’re not interested.

Finding the balance is critical if you speak to someone else like a receptionist or a colleague and they tell you to call at another time then make sure you stick to that, listen to what they say, and respect them.

Freelancer using her mobile phone talking to her boss

Be Creative

Make yourself stand out...in a good way. Find out something about the person you’re reaching out to, make your contact with the personal and different than anyone else. If you’re going to be sending more than one email to this person, then don’t send the same one each time either.

Mix it up a bit. Otherwise, it’s not only, but it makes you look lazy too. Have a look on their Linkedin page or their company’s website, mention the post they have just published, or the blog they have just written. It shows you’re interested in what they’re doing and it can never hurt to compliment them. As they say, flattery gets you everywhere.

Your Subject

Make sure that the subject of your email is relevant to the email, something that will stand out but something that is also easy to find when the recipient is searching through their inbox. Don’t be vague, don’t be irrelevant, and don’t be boring.

Don’t Send the Email to Anyone Else

While it can be very tempting to send your email to other people to give the person you are after a nudge or in the hope that this other person can help you, it’s not a good idea to send your email to anyone who it doesn’t concern, this can seem very pushy and also disrespectful. Don’t CC others in too unless it’s essential.

Take Tips from Other People

Have a look at your emails and think about which ones grabbed your attention, who you felt you wanted to respond to, who sent you a follow-up email which made you take notice.

All industries and professions deal with these same issues when it comes to emails and calls and generally following people up, so don’t be disheartened or take it personally, it’s just part of life. There are some great tips online which you can adapt to whatever situation it is that you’re in.

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