After introducing yourself to new contacts, trying to remember everyone's names, and constantly striving to make the best impression you can at an all-day networking event, you're probably ready to relax and forget about networking for a little while. Don't fall into the trap!
In order to solidify those contacts and grow your professional network, it's essential that you process the information you received and follow up with networking emails as soon as possible. This guide will walk you through the necessary post-networking steps and how to write a networking follow up email that best fits your needs.
Ideally, you should start working on your follow up strategy within the first 24 hours after the event, though you can wait up to three days if necessary. A short waiting period between the actual event and following up will ensure that the details of conversations you had and people you met are still fresh in your mind.
Begin by organizing the information you already acquired. Take notes about who you spoke with, where they worked, and what connections they might have. As you do, consider who you want to keep in touch with long-term. You'll interact with a lot of people if you regularly attend networking events; always sending a follow up email after meeting someone new is just not practical.
Next, add each contact you want to establish a lasting professional relationship with to your networking spreadsheet. Make sure to include where and when you met them in the "Notes" section! These key pieces of information will both jog your memory in the future as to who each person in your spreadsheet is and serve as a starting point for your networking follow up email.
A networking follow up email may be written to meet a number of objectives. Using the list below, identify which situation is most like your own and adapt the sample email after networking event activities are over so that it fits your needs.
Writing a Conference Follow up Email
A conference follow up email should always reference the name of the event. If you are writing to someone who spoke at the event, you might consider referencing any additional questions you've thought of since their presentation, or send along an anecdote describing how you've since applied what you learned. When addressing another attendee, you might mention something about a presentation they did not have the chance to attend. Example:
Dear [Contact's Name],
I hope you enjoyed the rest of [Conference Name]! I keep thinking about your presentation and our conversation about [presentation topic]. I've thought of some more questions regarding [1-2 specific points], and was wondering if you were free one day next week to discuss them over lunch?
Writing a Business Lead Follow Up Email
Use this sample email after networking event introductions that could connect you with a potential employer or provide an opportunity to promote a project you're working on. Even more than the others listed here, adapting this sample email requires a personal touch. Speak directly to your contact and any interests/needs they have expressed if you want them to take the leap and consider buying your product or making a referral.
Dear [Contact's Name],
I really enjoyed getting to know you at [event] this weekend! I was thinking about the difficulties you said your company was having with [1-2 problems], and I may be able to help.
At my previous employer, [Company Name], I worked on a project where [describe project]. With this expertise, I believe I could help eliminate the issues you mentioned. I'd be more than happy to discuss some proposed solutions in more detail. I can be reached at [phone number] or [email address].
I look forward to hearing from you!
Writing a "Thank You" Email for a Meeting
If someone specifically set aside time to speak with you at the networking event—for an informational interview to exchange research ideas, for instance—you should always follow up to show your appreciation.
Dear [Contact's Name],
Thank you for meeting with me yesterday. I definitely learned a lot about [topic], and will be using your suggestions about [1-2 suggested actions] from now on.
Thank you again for your time and help! I will let you know as [your project] progresses.
For many people, determining the optimal method for how to follow up after a networking event is the most difficult part of reconnecting with their professional contacts. Sending the same networking follow up email to everyone you meet, regardless of the situation, may seem insincere. By using the sample emails above to customize your approach, you can come across as more genuinely interested in developing your relationships and build a solid professional network.