Career Advice Tuesday – Following Up
March 16, 2010
Dear Lee & Mike,
I just came back from RSA with a pile of business cards an inch thick. I know that all of the networking books say that I’m supposed to follow up with everyone I meet. But really? Does anybody really sit down and email all of these people?
What are the ground-rules here?
The short answer: “Yes, really”.
While it can be exhausting and overwhelming, following up on the meetings you have at a conference is one of the most important relationship building steps. And your decision to follow up will set you apart from all of those out there who just go to conferences and let all of the valuable contacts that they make fall on the floor.
This doesn’t mean that the process of following up needs to be arduous. While that pile of business cards may seem daunting, it’s entirely possible to follow up with every one of your new contacts over the course of a couple of hours. You don’t need to write a novel to each of the people you met – a simple “hi, great meeting you” is perfectly effective.
Mike works with one of the masters of follow-up, his partner Dean Pace at MAD Security. Dean’s follow ups are the picture of efficiency and effectiveness – when he finishes a conference (like RSA), he sits down on the return flight and writes a quick note to each of the people he met at the conference. A sample of one of his notes is below:
Subject: Nice meeting you
It was nice meeting you at the RSA show. It is always good to put a face with a name. Let’s keep in touch to see how we may be able to do some business together. Maybe you, Aaron and I could jump on a call one day soon to discuss a plan. Safe Travels!
That’s about as long as Dean goes. He usually personalizes the note to be about whatever he talked with the person about at the show, but it’s never more than a paragraph or two.
And it’s what sets Dean apart as a great networker. Because people remember the small touches and they come to trust Dean over the years.
The answer to the question is simple: sit down with each of your cards and write a quick email. Don’t pass up the opportunity to make really powerful connections with the people you have just met.
Mike & Lee
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