A few years ago I attended an HR conference for my job. The conference started with a keynote speaker, then moved into breakout sessions on a variety of topics and ended with another speaker. I enjoy attending conferences periodically to get up to date on current HR trends, changes in employment law and best practices and also to meet other HR professionals.
One of the breakout sessions I attended was by the founder of a start-up company that conducts surveys for companies, typically focusing on employee engagement and satisfaction. Near the end of the session he offered to send anyone that was interested a copy of a survey his firm had completed. His instructions were to leave your business card with his associate at the end of the session and he would email the information to anyone interested. He also clearly stated, “I promise not to bother you with other emails or add you to an email list. I’ll only send you this one document that we are discussing today.”
Too good to be true, right?
I remember being hesitant at the time about leaving my card – but I didn’t trust my gut and handed over it over before I left.
Ever since that day I’ve been getting emails from his firm offering the services of his company, inviting me to business events, etc. Every time I get one of those emails I get frustrated and think about the promise he made that day. There is an “unsubscribe” button on the bottom of the email and with one click I could remove myself from his email list, but to be honest I’ve stayed on the list so that his emails can be a reminder to me to do as I say and say as I do.
Years ago I attending a training session where we talked about building "emotional bank accounts". If you coutinuously do as you say and say as you do you build up trust with other people and they come to think of you as someone they can count on to meet your obligations, both business and personal.
As much as those unwanted emails annoy me, they are a good reminder to me to be accountable. Its very possible that the company that continues to sent me unwanted emails is a good company, but because we didn't have a good foundation of trust built up I would be hesitant to use their services.