Ok, so you’ve dragged yourself to the networking event and met a few people who are good connections!
But now it’s time to follow up and you’re sitting there fumbling over jussst the right way to say what you want to say. Is there a template or ‘right way’ to follow up, you ask? No, not really, but there are common components of a good follow up email.
Let’s take these component and apply them to a hypothetical situation- you meet someone at an event who is hiring people in your field.
- Do the work AT the event. This one’s not always possible (say, if you get interrupted by someone else), but it’s worth a shot. While you’re engaged in conversation with someone, ask her if you both can set up some time to talk more about X and then pull out your calendars! Boom- done! If that’s not possible, ask her if you can email her with some potential times (or if she has an assistant she’d rather you go through, etc). This takes the onus off you to follow up and think of the right thing to say and gets it done and in the calendar!
- Reference your conversation. So, if setting it up at the event is not an option, it’s time to craft your email. Maybe he made a good point about trends in the industry that will upend how business is done. Maybe you really want to talk more about security threats by ISIS. Whatever it is, reference your conversation. He met a substantial number of people, so it can start to blend together. Make yourself stand out.
- Send the follow up note a day or two after the event. Don’t wait a week: things fade, priorities shift, things come up. Get in front of them n-o-w. If she’s hiring, time is SERIOUSLY of the essence.
- If appropriate, briefly share your background. The person obviously didn’t have your resume in front of her at the event, so reference some experience that is relevant to the person and what she does. For our example, she is hiring, so connect your experience to what her needs may be. This goes back to having your narrative down pat
- Put it in terms of what’s in it for them. An age-old marketing approach, this has helped me in everything I’ve done since I learned it. What can you offer them? Obviously you are going to make an ask, but be careful that the balance isn’t shifted toward take, take, take and that you’re bringing something to the table from the get-go. Also make them do the least amount of work possible. Suggest times for a phone chat or offer to meet them next door to their office. Ask if they have an assistant they’d rather you schedule things through. That could prompt them to respond by cc’ing said assistant, keeping things moving.
- Make a specific ask. I can’t tell you how many emails I have seen without this. This is the linchpin! Take out any language that says, “If you have time, I’d love to…” The idea here is that you have valuable, tangible experience to offer too! If you know they are hiring, suggest you meet to discuss how you might contribute to the growing team given your experience doing X.
- Thank him! This should go without saying but….thank him for his time.
That’s a lot to consider, I know, but once you use this checklist a couple of times, it really becomes second nature. Try it out and let us know how it goes in the comments below!