Networking Follow-Up Etiquette

It’s not enough to make connections at networking events – you need to be able to pursue the relationship afterwards to cement the relationship and build the connection to a level where both of you can benefit.

However, not everyone knows how to follow up on their meetings. For some it can seem awkward. Others don’t want to come across as pushy or inauthentic. We’ve compiled the best Do’s and Don’ts of following up so you can make the most effective choices.

Follow Up Do’s

DO: Connect with them on LinkedIn in a timely manner. Send a little note explaining where you met the other person and the topics you discussed. For example: “It was very nice to meet you at the event last week. I’d love to continue our conversation about a possible partnership.” This can help you build the relationship while the conversation is fresh in their mind.

DO: Ask for permission before sending an email. When you speak with someone during an event, tell them you’d like to contact them via email. If you don’t reach out first you can seem pushy.

DO: Make sure you explain how your proposition can benefit both businesses. Remember that networking is about building connections and partnerships where both of you can further yourselves. Don’t be afraid to do some research about the other person’s company so you can provide a truthful proposition and list real ways you can help each other.

DO: Gauge their interest before continuing communication. If they’re not interested, that’s fine, but you need to know where to draw the line. Consider how quickly and eagerly they reply to your emails or messages.

Follow Up Don’ts

DON’T: Connect with every person you spoke with. Save the LinkedIn requests for those you engaged in meaningful conversations with or you’ll seem less authentic.

DON’T: Email every attendee. One reason, this is a violation of the CAN-SPAM act. For another, it looks very unprofessional and will likely only push others away.

DON’T: Talk only about your company, or discuss things without understanding their company. You don’t want to come across as pushy or self-absorbed, but it’s easy to do so with the wrong attitude.

DON’T: Continue emailing if you get no response. Harassing the other party is no way to build a connection, and if they’re not answering, they’re probably just not interested. Let the relationship go and move on to more promising leads.

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