I guess by now I don't need to tell you that you should always follow up. No exception. If someone spends time with you, listens to you, probably gives you some advice or helps you in any other way, you follow up. A follow up is not only an act of courtesy, but your opportunity to build a long-term relationship, ask for a favor or simply say thank you. Its the good manners that your Mom taught you.
I was talking to a "super-networker" type at a networking event last week, and to this he added the following:
Always follow up on the same day.
I can't say I've managed to apply that consistently yet, but it certainly makes sense. Following up on the same day shows a certain keenness and energy that people will usually respect. Also, it ensures that the person you're following up with won't have forgotten you.
Another good point:
Don't trick yourself into believing that it ends here and all will be good. This is only the beginning - granted you got it of a good start, but now you want to mature your relationship (think long term, not short term again â€” no-one likes to feel used). Send an email every once in a while, pointing out some interesting news or research which is relevant for your contact. Ask for the occasional coffee to compare notes. Get creative and add value for the other person - trust me, it will pay back twice over.
Ask yourself: how many opportunities have you missed because you didn't follow up consistently enough?
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