You prepare so much for a networking event it would be a shame to lose all of that work by not following up with the contacts you made. Referrals are extremely important in the marketplace. Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow your professional network, following up is a way that can help you achieve your goals. Here is how you can begin to refine your networking skills.
Make notes after you get home. If you have a pile of business cards, go through and make notes on specific connections you made with that person or if they are someone you even need to follow up with.
It helps to record everything so you do not send an email twice. This could look like an Excel spreadsheet with people’s names, contact information, and where you met them. This will also ensure that you do not miss contacting any one.
Write an email to each person you connected with and be specific. Do not write a blanket email that you copy and paste. Let them know you enjoyed speaking with them at the event and why you hope to connect with them more in the future. Add something that reminds them of why they should be interested in you.
Connect through social media. This can be done through different avenues. If you hope to pursue a more professional relationship, request a connection on platforms such as LinkedIn. If you found a more personal connection and hope to pursue a more social relationship, follow them on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, but maybe not all three. Choose one to start.
Try to make a follow-up connection within 48 hours. If it is over a weekend and you want to wait until the work week begins, it is still better to follow-up later than not at all. Do not put if off however. The longer you wait the more chances you lose to snag an opportunity.
Remember that you do not have to contact everyone. It is not necessary to send an email to that one guy you opened the door for and chatted with for five minutes. He may have given you his business card, but just because you were both at the event does not make him a great connection.