April 29, 2016
By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC
In a previous blog post, we covered five simple tips to become a networking expert. And, while it should go without saying, the unmentioned, sixth tip – follow up – must always be applied as well. Without it, you just have a pile of business cards, belonging to people who may or may not remember you.
Think of the networking event as just getting your feet wet. But, the act of following up is actually diving into the waters. Without the event, you can’t make your connections, but without following up after, you can’t form that professional relationship.
So, how do you dive in? Here are some tips to get you started and become a follow-up expert:
Make a habit of following up within 24 hours of meeting someone. But, remember, these connections may have met several others at the same event, and the people and stories may begin to blend together. The sooner you can follow-up, the better chance you have at remaining top of mind.
Saying “thank you” to your new connection not only allows you a simple segue into your follow-up message, but it shows courtesy and recognizes the person’s generosity. Your new connection took his/her time to speak with you, share personal life and career stories and professional advice. Don’t ever just take and walk away; always remember to give something back. If all you can offer is showing a little gratitude and the feeling that they did something kind, make sure to do it. A “thank you” can go a long way.
Sending a generic follow-up message to everyone you meet within an appropriate timeframe might be more convenient for you, but it doesn’t guarantee the person remembers you. If you want to use a template to save you time, make sure to also include something relating only to that person, based on something personal the two of you discussed.
Connect on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. Since it most often displays your profile picture, it will help you allow your new connection to “put a face to the name.” Also, your profile may include some additional professional background information you may have not covered at your meet-and-greet.
Make it Long-Term
Don’t let your new relationship(s) go cold. Make sure to follow up every so often. A good rule of thumb is to reach out every three months, but make sure to have something substantial to say, such as:
- If they helped you nail a job presentation, share the results and thank them for their help.
- Send them an article of relevance to something you discussed.
- Send them holiday/birthday cards.