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Biz Comm 101: Crafting the perfect follow up email

So you networked, delivered a stellar elevator pitch, and got the business card.  How do you take it to the next level?  Establish a foundation?  Create a business relationship, or even a friendship?

Like dating, business relationships need to be finessed. While you may not wait by your iPhone for a call or a text, you may experience similar feelings of anxiety over not wanting to come across too eager, impolite, or forward. But the truth is, the 3-day rule just doesn’t apply when it comes to business follow up. 

After a successful networking event, I usually have 3-5 business cards of people who I really want to follow up with. Sometimes I’ll walk away from an event with just one card, sometimes I may have more (here’s looking at you, Board of Trade cocktail mingler). However, it’s always best to follow up with people who you have a genuine interest in pursuing a business relationship with (and realistically, you should be in possession of their card for that very reason. Remember, networking is not a competition to see who can collect the most business cards!).

My tips for crafting the perfect follow up email:

1. Be authentic. Speak with your own voice.  Know your audience. Following up with a potential client or employer should sound different than following up with a potential yoga buddy or fellow foodie.

2. Make reference to how you met or a shared anecdote from the event.  In the event that the recipient of your email doesn’t have the same stellar memory you have, a quick reminder goes a long way in re-establishing your connection.

3. Style and grammar are paramount. No exclamation points. Avoid over-zealous use of adverbs and adjectives. Even if it was “sooooo fabulous to meet you!!!!” -keep your tone professional, polite, and mature.

4. Suggest a follow up meeting. This could be a request for an informational interview if your objective is job searching or career advice; or it could be an invitation to coffee, lunch, or another networking event. Just remember – be respectful of the recipient’s time and resources.

5. And finally, maintain communication – diarize follow ups in your calendar or smart phone so that you stay top of mind with people you want to draw into your orbit.

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3 Responses to Biz Comm 101: Crafting the perfect follow up email

  1. Anne Emberline October 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Great tips! Another thing I like to do if I really want to connect with someone after an event is ask a question in my follow up email so that we can get some dialogue rolling. I’ve had really great email conversations with people after meeting them at events. We end up finding out how we can help one another and who we can connect each other to. It’s great.

  2. Katie October 8, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Great idea, Anne. You’re so right – sparking dialogue and engaging the recipient is key to establishing a long term connection. Love this!

  3. Premiere Suites October 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    very helpful networking tips, Will share this post with our fans on facebook.

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