Four Ways to Follow Up With a Brand New Contact

nametagIf you’re in the networking swirl, congratulations! Chances are you’re attending industry events or even social events and going home with a small stack of business cards.

They won’t mean anything, unfortunately if you don’t work it immediately after the event. Here are several tips to keep in mind.

1. Remember something specific about the conversation. The best time to take stock of the conversation is immediately after it ends. Take a moment after exchanging business cards with the new contact to jot down something you spoke about.

Whether you dished about vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard or who will make it to the World Series this year, it’s all good. This will be a key identifying factor that bonded you and your new contact.

2. Connect within 48 hours on LinkedIn. Send a quick introductory invite by referencing the event and mention that you’d like to follow up within the following two weeks for a conversation on the phone or over coffee.

3. Actually follow up! Believe it or not, this is such a simple step yet most people we’ve encountered from a recruiting standpoint at least fail to send a friendly note to reach out. Here’s the thing — you don’t want too much time to elapse before your stimulating conversation and connection becomes a distant memory.

Reach out via email one week after the event to make plans for another conversation. The first paragraph should state how you enjoyed speaking with him or her at the recent event. Then you should allude to one or two points made during the conversation so he or she definitely remembers you. (Plus, it shows that you were also paying attention.)

4. Get specific and begin with the end in mind. When you persist politely to get a date on the calendar, think about what you’re looking for in this new contact and in turn, what you can also offer him or her. Are you looking for a new job? Informational interview to learn more about his or her company?

Specific contacts within that company? And what can you bring to the table as well? Stay focused on what you’re seeking and what you can offer; this will provide the impetus to stay the course and follow up with the connection within two weeks if you haven’t heard back yet.