Just making connections at a networking event is not enough – here is how to follow up

28th Jul 2016
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As a business professional, part of your job entails engaging in different networking events. Such events give you the perfect platform to build connections which can enhance your business’ presence in the market. But, it doesn’t help to simply make your presence felt at such events and not build on your relationships with the professionals you meet there. Following up with them is integral if you need them to help you out later.

Following up with potential connections must be done effectively in order to build a sound relationship with them over time. It’s only good business etiquette to do so, and there is a proper way of going about it. Here’s what you should know.

Networking

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When to contact them

Don’t hesitate to drop them an email right away. There is no such thing as ‘too soon’. However, do ensure that you frame your email in such a manner so as to not come off as too desperate or too eager. The best time frame to connect with any of your contacts is within 24 to 48 hours, so that they are able to recall you when they see your email.

How to communicate

The golden rule is to “Give first and expect nothing in return.” Don’t jump in and ask for favours, internships, jobs, funding or whatever your intention might be straight away. Instead, drop them an email telling them that it was a pleasure to connect with them at the event. Mention a little about what they talked and how that inspired you. If you asked a question, compliment on how they answered it. Your email shouldn’t be too long and needn’t be too formal, but it should be enough to initiate a conversation.

You can also get connected with them on LinkedIn and drop a follow-up message there. You can also choose to initiate a discussion on their posts. Remember to reach out to them on small occasions like birthdays and festivals and send them your warm wishes. If you are on Twitter, chances are high that you will find them there as well. This is the quickest way to go get a response and get noticed.

Arranging for a one-to-one meeting

Be clear about your intentions before you enter the meeting room. The first one-on-one meeting is about further developing your rapport with your new contact. Rather than forcing your agenda on them by talking about you and your business, wait for them to ask.

Going beyond LinkedIn

There are many apps like Newsle that connect your contacts and send you email updates when any of your contacts are mentioned in news. Following them on different apps, and not coming off as desperate when you interact with them is going to lead them to thinking that you are not just another person who needs a favor.

The power of mutual connections

“It is much easier to put existing resources to better use than to develop resources where they do not exist.” – George Soros

Any person that you connect with knows many other people in his or her circle. This increases the power of your conversations manifold. So, when you are talking to a person with 500 connections, you are not only talking to him but all of his 500 connections. Remember, one strong relationship offers you a valuable possibility of introduction to many other important people.

So if you have done your bit at the networking event, then go on and follow up with them. It is going to better your personal and professional growth by many folds.

 

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