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Following up after making a networking contact
Networking can be hugely beneficial to your career; it connects you with people who can help you progress within your career and can present you with new opportunities and ideas.
Networking opportunities can happen anywhere, at a work conference, through meeting a mutual friend or connecting with someone on social media. It has become easier than ever before to build your network and it is important that you take advantage of these opportunities when they arise. Following up with a new contact can help you get a foot in the door and establish a working relationship with people within your industry. In this article, we will give you tips on how to follow up with your new contact and how to make the most of this new networking opportunity.
Read our networking article first to learn about some of the benefits.
How to follow up after networking
It’s important to make a good impression when networking, however it is even more important to turn that initial contact into a working relationship that brings long lasting benefits. The following tips will help you to feel more confident and organised when making contact after networking:
Organise your contacts
Whether you have met your new contact at a face-to-face event, online or through a mutual friend, it is important to keep a record of them so you know how to call upon them at a later date. Take note of their full name, their employer/organisation, contact details, date of contact and any key points of interest/information gained from networking with them. Creating this bank of information can help trigger conversational points that you can bring up when reaching out to them. Aligning these points of interest with your career goals will organise your contacts effectively and give you reason to contact them in future.
Conduct further research
To build an understanding of your contacts it can be beneficial to conduct further research on them. Using LinkedIn, you can search their profile to find out who they work for, their previous experience or what they are interested in to establish icebreakers when starting conversation. Your new contact will be more likely to communicate with you if you show that you have made an effort to find out more about them.
Get in contact
Don’t wait for your new contact to reach out to you. There is no reason to be afraid of being the first to make contact, it shows that you are interested in keeping in touch. Develop a strong working relationship with them by sending a personalised email, message on LinkedIn, or even a phone call. Personal messages make an especially good impression as this shows that your initial interaction was meaningful to you and that you would like to remain in contact. Remember to keep it professional and not to hassle them, even engaging with their online content can keep your name at the forefront of their mind.
Make yourself valuable to them
Highlight why keeping in contact with you will be beneficial to them in the long term. Remember that good networking achieves mutual benefit. Have you got something that would be of interest to them? Do you have expertise in an area where you could help them? Try not to be too eager in the first contact, but don’t sell yourself short- show them why they should keep in contact with you.
Be polite and professional at all times
Being polite and professional when following up with a networking contact is crucial when establishing a working relationship. These people may be busy and cannot reply to you immediately, it is important that you are patient and don’t hassle them. Start off by thanking them for taking the time to connect with you and providing you with any information they have given you. Have you taken any action with their help? Give them any positive feedback from what you have learned and keep the conversation open.
Following up with a new network contact is the easiest way you can establish key working relationships, gain relevant experience, or take on new opportunities. By taking on these tips you will be able to build on what you have already achieved and unlock possibilities in your future.