Networking never gets any easier.
The fact of the matter is that mustering up the courage to mix and mingle with thought leaders in your industry is only half the battle. The other half of the battle begins when the event is over, and you’re tasked with ensuring the relationships you worked so hard to build will last beyond the final goodbyes at the end of the night.
Most of the obvious follow-up techniques are dull, and you would never want to be so bold that you come off annoying, ingenuine, or even worse, desperate. So what are the best ways to reach out to your new connections after an event to ensure the outcome is a lasting relationship?
How to network after your event like the pros
Whether you’re looking for ways to connect with new people in a meaningful way, or you’re just trying to nurture a relationship that started on LinkedIn, this article will walk you through the top seven tips to help you network after your first initial introductions in the best ways possible.
Tip 1: Take notes following each conversation
This tip is number one on the list because it’s the most important tip to remember. You should be jotting down notes of each person you enjoyed meeting with after the conversation has ended. These notes can be something specific about the person, or they can just be about the things you talked about. This will help you out immensely when you’re ready to send them a note. It will not only jog your memory, but you’ll be able to craft a thoughtful email with all of the right tidbits within it.
This can be something as small as remembering a vacation they’re about to take or something as important as a current pain point they’re experiencing with their business strategy (just make sure you can offer up a solution to alleviate it). Remembering details that are important to them will help you build a stronger and more meaningful relationship. They will see that you’ve taken a genuine interest in their life and that you want to get to know them, which will make it all the more likely that your relationship will turn into something down the road.
Tip 2: Give and receive business cards
You might think this is an old school technique, and it is somewhat, but nothing can beat a pocket-sized card with every piece of contact information needed to contact someone with. Make sure to bring a stack of business cards to your event and be eager to hand them out. When you do so, you open up the perfect opportunity to ask for one in return. If the person you’re speaking with doesn’t have one, just jot their info down in your phone, or use an app like Whova to scan the badge. This is a much smoother way to get the information you’re seeking without scrambling at the end of the conversation or forgetting altogether.
Keep the business cards you collected somewhere safe during the event, but be sure to get them into your CRM system as soon as possible. By doing so, you can better organize your leads and prospects or even add an additional contact to a current account you have.
Tip 3: Connect on LinkedIn with a personalized note
LinkedIn is a great place to start after meeting someone professionally. When you go to connect with them, you will be prompted to either send the invite or attach a note. Be sure to attach the note that jogs the person’s memory of who you are and where you met. You can even take it one step further and wrap up the general theme of your conversation so you have some leeway to continue it. You should also offer up your services to them and make sure that you would love to help them in any way you can. Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date by having your current title listed, uploading your resume, and make sure to engage and share relevant info. You don’t want to just be another connection. Some event apps such as Whova allows you to directly browse through the attendee profiles and send out LinkedIn connections requests conveniently. If your organizers offer that, do leverage it.
Tip 4: Follow their professional social media accounts
If the person you took interest in has a professional social media account, make sure to follow them. However, be certain that it’s their professional account because following them on their personal accounts could be perceived as creepy. Your professional Twitter account can provide an avenue for networking and an opportunity for finding new content. If the company that the person works for has a Twitter or Instagram, give them a follow as well. This is a great way to get insights into the current happenings and allow you to connect with them better. Comment on their posts that you genuinely enjoyed or reshare them. Everyone loves engagement on social.
Tip 5: Be timely with your follow up
There’s a sweet spot for the perfect follow-up window and it’s anywhere from two to three days following the event. If you’ve missed that window don’t panic, but make sure that you aren’t reaching out after one-week post the event. Too soon will make you seem annoying, and your note could get lost in the shuffle that ensues after attending a whirlwind event. Now, on the other hand, waiting too long to reach out will seem forced and slightly off-putting. The receiver of your note might think you had no luck with the people you reached out before them and ignore you altogether.
Tip 6: Send a thoughtful email
Using the tricks shared in tip number one, you should follow up with them with a networking email. When you gather the person’s business card, make sure that they know you’ll be sending them an email. You wouldn’t want them to receive your email out of the blue and accidentally ignore it, and this measure also ensures that they will be expecting it and can keep their eye out for it.
It’s important to be aware of how many times you reach out. For example, you would not want to send them a note on LinkedIn, direct message them on Twitter, and send them an email. This would be overwhelming for anybody to handle and increase the chances of the recipient never responding. Act natural. Think about the way you would want to be reached. If someone contacted you in more than one way would you be perturbed by it? Feel out the situation and contact them in the way that feels most normal. Once you have the follow-up conversation established through one channel, you can always start up another conversation on another!
You should send an email to someone who you had a meaningful conversation with. This allows you to take your time composing a nice message without being pressured by the word limit that LinkedIn and Twitter have. If you need help crafting an email that sticks, consider using AI writing assistants. The machine learning tool can assist you with anything from grammar and tone to research and text recommendations.
Tip 7: Offer to meet up for coffee
This is not a tactic to use for every single connection you made. This is for one, maybe two people that you really clicked with and want to continue the conversation with (and you can tell they do, too!). There are obvious limitations to this, current location probably being the biggest one, but if you both work in the same city, grabbing a coffee or a quick lunch is a great idea. If you’re not in the same city, you could even use a video conferencing tool to meet face-to-face no matter the distance. Make the setting neutral and convenient for both of you, and set up some time. Make sure the meeting is no longer than two weeks post-event to ensure you’re both still enthused to meet.
Make a connection
Love it or hate it, networking makes the business world go round. Use these seven tips to your advantage to stand out from the crowd and build great relationships with your industry’s leaders. Just remember, authenticity goes a long way. Think about the types of follow-up notes that you would want to receive and reply to. Those are exactly the types of follow-ups you should be sending.
Hannah Tow is a Content Marketing Associate at G2.com. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Journalism and is very happy to be working in her favorite city, Chicago. In her free time, Hannah enjoys running with her dog, Teddy, traveling to new and exciting places, and capturing the beautiful places she travels to with her DSLR camera.