You attend multiple networking events and come home with a pile of business cards. The only way these cards will be useful is dependent on the action you take. But, starting the conversation with what you want them to do for you is not the best opener. So, you’re unsure how to follow-up, and you either throw out the cards (gasp!) or leave them in a giant pile on your desk.
Here are some proven ways you can keep the energy and excitement flowing between events and build your personal network.
Start at least 24 hours after the event
Life happens quickly and people can forget who they spoke with quickly. You want your meeting to be fresh in their minds, especially the conversation you had, where you met, and how you connected. We recommend you take time to follow up with connections within at least 24 hours after the event.
Check your notes
While you network, you may have notes from the event. Review what you wanted to remember about the individual. It could be about a book they recommended or a shared interest. The little details you remember about them show your interest in and care for the relationship. If your notes are a little sparse, try googling their name or business to read about their work. It could help you remember what you talked about.
Choose how to connect
Everyone has various platforms they prefer to use or connect with. We suggest choosing a platform that you are more likely to check, and have in common with the individual. Then, connect or follow them on that platform, with a quick message so they see your request. Emails are perfect for longer conversations, whereas social messages are quicker if you do not have a lot of time.
Write your follow-up
The key to a successful follow-up is to be personal, set up future plans, and offer something in return. Open the message reminding the individual where you meet them and include one personal connection. It could be about how you bonded over balancing work and kids or sharing favored baseball teams. Next, find a reason to meet up or continue the conversation. You never want to leave a dead-end with a new connection because then they have no reason to continue talking. Here are several ways you can strengthen your network to make powerful connections.
Finally, offer something beneficial to them in return. It could be gratitude for the helpful advice, an upcoming event that interests them, a new contact they should meet, etc. You want to establish a beneficial relationship and demonstrate you are a strong connection they want to keep in touch with.
Networks consist of a lot of people. You do not want to mix anyone up or accidentally send them two follow-up emails. Create a tracking system where you can store contact information, dates of last contact, how you contacted them, etc. It will keep your networking organized and prevent any slip-ups.
Follow-up email template
It was a pleasure meeting you at the IAW networking event in Chicago yesterday. I love finding other moms who work full-time in the tech industry. Per your recommendation, I searched the IAW website and found many new roles to apply to. I’ve already had a few recruiters reach out to me!
I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee to thank you for the helpful advice. What day next week would you be available for a quick meet-up?
President, International Association of Women
Follow-up social message template
It was a pleasure meeting you at the IAW networking event in Chicago yesterday. I love finding other moms who work full-time in the tech industry. I saw on the IAW calendar that there is a leadership lab on strategies to handle stress next Tuesday. If you are free, I would love to go with you.