My best networking follow-up tip

Ever wonder the best way to follow up after meeting someone at a networking event? Here’s my favorite tip…

It’s no secret that I love to network. But, after a fabulous event or conference, even I have faced that pit-of-the-stomach feeling when I look at the business cards I’ve collected.

How am I going to follow up with these people? Will I be bothering them if I call? Will email seem too impersonal? Is it presumptuous to friend them on Facebook?

Perhaps you’ve had the same concerns.

Over the years I’ve developed a plan to take the guess work out of follow-up. It’s super simple and works every time. When I meet someone I’d like to connect with again, I simply say, “I’ve really enjoyed meeting you, and I’d like to keep in touch. What’s the best method to reach you?”

This gives your networking contact the options to:

a) Politely blow you off by saying something like, “That’s really nice, but I’m super busy right now. I enjoyed meeting you too and hopefully we’ll run into each other again.” (Translation: I’m just not that into you.)

b) Tell you his or her preferred contact method.

If the answer is b (and it usually is if you’ve read the situation correctly), once you know where you stand and how to communicate, the rest is easy. Follow up exactly as instructed, and your fabulous contact will be eagerly expecting your communication.

(p.s. if you’re wondering my answer to this question, it’s this: Email to my business email address is always best and please give me at least a week to respond.)

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10 Comments

    Pingback: Posted by Networking = Necessary Pain « uchicagocaps on February 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

    [...] friends, or your friends’ parents for help). 2. Consider this advice from author and blogger Lindsey Pollack: “Over the years I’ve developed a plan to take the guess work out of follow-up. It’s [...]

    Pingback: Posted by 100 Must-Read Blog Posts for Networking in a New Age | Online Colleges on October 20, 2009 at 10:36 am

    [...] My favorite networking follow-up tip: Lindsey Pollak shares some great advice for following up after meeting someone. [...]

    Comment: Posted by Lindsey Pollak on October 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    @Carole – Thank so much for commenting and sharing a unique networking tip. I’m so happy we’ve built up such a great list!

    Lindsey

    Comment: Posted by Carole on October 10, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Everyone’s ideas and suggestions are fabulous! I like to go one step further. With the system I have I send an actual greeting card letting them know how much I enjoyed meeting them. Most of the time the card includes my picture (printed on the inside) and phone # only so they can remember my face. I try to focus solely on them and meeting them, so as to not mix messages. The back of the card has my return address, in case they threw my card away and want to send me something.
    I had one person call me to thank me personally for the card as he has never received a card like that before.

    Best of business success,
    Carole

    Comment: Posted by Lindsey Pollak on July 22, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    @ Maggie Mistal – You are an EXCELLENT listener (an important quality in a coach!) and it’s such an important message to share. As my grandfather used to say, there’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. You get so much more from listening. Thanks for commenting!

    - Lindsey

    Comment: Posted by Lindsey Pollak on July 22, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    @ Jason Alba – I couldn’t agree more. Follow-up really is what separates the serious people from the “card collectors.” Thanks for the comment!

    - Lindsey

    Comment: Posted by Maggie Mistal on July 22, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    My favorite networking tip is listen, listen, listen. It’s amazing how often people share information yet never really hear each other because they’re too busy making their own pitch.

    Ok so that was my problem early on in my career. I thought that the best way to get ahead was to self-promote. What I didn’t realize was that you can’t build rapport when you don’t learn anything about the other person or remember what he/she said.

    So now my mantra is talk less, listen more and really focus on the person I am networking with. I’ve since made connections with amazing people like Lindsey and have solid relationships that really make for tremendous networking opportunities and great friendships!

    Comment: Posted by Jason Alba on July 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

    I was at an event in Silicon Valley and a guy would not give me his business card. He said ‘you won’t follow up with me, so you can’t have my card!’ Of course, it made me want it more. But the message was clear – there’s too much passing the cards and not enough follow-up. Simply following-up will make you more memorable, and show you care enough to remain on my radar.

    As I started networking more I realized I couldn’t do it with just a stack of business cards – I needed software to help manage all the information – notes about the person, when I followed up, action items, what we talked about, misc information, etc. Salespeople use Salesforce.com or something like that – career-oriented people, including those who are *just* networking, use JibberJobber ;)

    Jason Alba
    CEO – JibberJobber.com

    Comment: Posted by Lindsey Pollak on July 21, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    @Miriam – Thanks for the comment and the additional tip. That’s great advice to make notes on the back of people’s business cards. Happy networking!

    - Lindsey

    Comment: Posted by Miriam Salpeter on July 21, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Lindsey,

    That is great advice. Knowing for sure that a contact is willing to hear from you again makes follow-up much easier and less stressful.

    Another tip that helps me if I meet a lot of people at one event: Make notes on the contact’s business card. Include the best method to contact him or her AND something that will remind you of your conversation. For example, if you talked about your shared passion for tennis, you’ll want to mention it in your follow-up so the contact will remember you!

    Looking forward to reconnecting with you again soon!

    Best,
    Miriam Salpeter
    Keppie Careers

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