Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

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By Pamela McMillan

I was at an event the other day and one of the speakers was a well-known politician. When he came out to speak everybody clapped and cheered with the exception of the person sitting next to me. That person went on to whisper to me “that this person is full of it.” When I queried as to why such a statement was made, I was told that the person had made promises to their organization but never followed through on promises. To me, it was like Déjà vu being that I’ve heard these stories a lot – how someone’s colleague invited them out to invest in their business or offer them employment, but never followed through on what was promised. Either people didn’t take their calls when they tried to reach out to them, or even worst, they didn’t return their phone calls.

Why is it that people want to give the air of caring, being concerned and helpful, but when they leave the stage or event, they don’t want to be bothered anymore? I suggest to them to “just keep your big mouth shut!” You don’t have to commit to anything. You don’t owe anybody anything, unless you are a public servant (that includes politicians). Anyone else, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting anyway. The thing is, you don’t make it better by laughing it up and giving people some feel good moments only to smash their dreams or expectations after making a commitment or promise that was made on a whim and you had no intentions of doing so in the first place.

They should (politicians) quit telling people there are so many untapped dollars in the community, especially about the ones being returned because no one used them. Why not be proactive and apprise the community of the dollars when they are made available, and create programs and workshops that guide them through the process of completing those applications? Guess what? It is your community too! Following that, you should keep up a series of workshops to educate them on how to best manage the programs; teach them good customer service and the importance of transparency and ethics.

Nothing puzzles me more than when you ask a not-for-profit organization questions about their organization and they become defensive or evasive. Transparency people! The 501C belongs to the community. It is not your personal business or cookie jar. And to business owners, when you get TIF dollars, fix the place up, and maintain it. Don’t act silly because you renovated your place or fixed it up. Treat your customers with dignity and maintain a good look appearance.

A person keeping their word is considered an honest person. Anyone who promises to help and evades is not. If you take away anything from a person not following through on what they promised – maybe that person is of questionable character. Moreover, it is probably best that you found out when you did so you don’t have to waste time with them on important stuff.

On the other side of the coin, there are a lot of people out there that will make promises and will keep their word. So don’t be quick to dismiss their offer because sometimes people have intentions of doing the right thing, but other things come up and get in the way, or someone got to them sooner than you did. Always make it a point to stay in touch and reach out to busy people in multiple ways

1· Show up at events, drop by the office, call, email and snail mail

2· Get to know others in the office that may have access to them to remind them of their conversation with you, maybe they are just plain forgetful. That happens when you have a lot of people approaching and asking for help on various things

3· Don’t give up or wait for them to call you. Give them a nudge every now and then, but don’t be rude and don’t let that be your only source for achieving your goal. Remember, there are plenty of people and opportunities out there.

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