Early on in my career, I had too many meetings where followup items just didn’t get done. It wasn’t because the people were incompetent or didn’t care… normally, it was because they were swamped with stuff and the action item fell off their radar.
Being attuned to and empathizing with people’s busy schedule is one of the easiest ways to disarm a potentially awkward conversation (nobody likes feeling like they have done a bad job). Whenever I talk with someone about missing an action item, one of the key things I try to keep in mind is, “The person has not done anything wrong, the action item has just not been accomplished yet.”
Here are five email templates that you can use to follow up on action items (hopefully, without seeming like a jerk):