As I waited on the conference call line I wondered if perhaps I had gotten the date or time wrong?
I re-dialed in to make sure I got the number right, and waited.
This was a call set up by my peer, and I was clicking on their link to accept their invitation to connect, and waiting patiently.
I’m the guy who dials in exactly at 12 PM if that’s the said time. I waited until 12:05 to reach out…
Texted and emailed the peer.
After 15 minutes I finally hung up and sent an email saying perhaps we can try a call again soon.
About an hour later I received an email from my peer saying, “I got tied up with things and we’ll have to reschedule.”
This might be the simplest part of doing business and working with humans: Just do what you say you’re going to do.
And yet how often is this a problem, as-in someone breaking a simple promise such as calling me when they say they will?
See: Too often.
Since the peer is someone I don’t want to offend outright do I choose to be the “hold-them-accountable” person I want to be when they casually say, “No biggie, let’s just reschedule”, when in reality I want to say, “Um, burn me once, shame on me, burn me twice…how did George Bush botch this line again?”
How can someone soften the blow of breaking their promise?
Peer could have easily texted me one minute prior and notified me of the issue and it’s not a big deal (although kind of still annoying).
Peer could have acted sorry even if they weren’t (which you would expect would be human nature).
Peer could have realized my time is valuable and I probably have other things to do than hang out on their conference call line listening to Steely Dan (a tune, I might add, that I loved for the first 3 minutes until I realized I’d been had, and the following 12 minutes now makes me officially hate that YOU’RE ON HOLD FOR NO ONE song).
So I did what any person on the receiving end of a broken promise would have to do:
I told them what needed to be done from here on out for us to connect on my terms, since I had kept the promise and they hadn’t.
The conversation went like this:
Peer: “I got tied up with things and we’ll have to reschedule.”
Me: “Bummed we missed our opportunity to talk, as that was the only chance I have due to my schedule. I respect your time and really am looking forward to our discussion you requested.
So, let’s do this, since I’m traveling so much this week I will text you when I have an opening in my calendar and see if you have a minute for our call.”
This allows peer to save face, allows me to keep my dignity and not schedule yet another fateful never to be conference call, and fortifies the fact that, not only does this business peer need my message of keeping promises more than ever, so do they as a human being in order to learn their lesson.
Whether it is your peer, a co-worker, or a client who broke the promise to you, the point is simple:
Just do what you say you’re going to do!
Now the question is, Dear Reader, are you the Promise Breaker or can we count on you to Keep Your Promises?
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