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Want to do something that makes you stand out from the crowd next time you make a connection? It’s so easy it’s almost ridiculous. Yet so few people actually do this – and when they do, they often get it wrong.

Let’s call it The Art of the Gracious Networking Follow Up.   Here’s how it works:FunkyFrogStock

Next time you meet someone – could be at a networking event or conference, on a plane, at the gym, at your niece’s wedding shower, while standing outside watering your petunias, or wherever – if you’ve had a pleasant conversation, have exchanged contact information, and want to keep the connection going  and build the relationship, take these easy, but important steps:

  1. Send along a short, sweet, non-salesy email or text that says something as simple as: “Hello [their name], I enjoyed meeting and visiting with you at _________. I enjoyed our conversations about ______________ and hope to stay in touch. And here’s the [item/information/contact] I promised you: [insert here].  In the meantime, If there’s anything else I can do for you, please let me know. Sincerely, [your name]”     Got it?  It’s all about being grateful, gracious, giving, and helpful.   It’s not about you.  Although, if they promised you something, you can certainly offer a gentle reminder about that. And if you have something to offer them – for example, free information on your website they may find helpful, that’s fine. Just don’t cross the line into laying a heavy sales pitch on them. They will run away!
  2. Next, connect with the person on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media as you see appropriate.
  3. Look at their profiles and get to know them.
  4. If they have a website or blog, check them out. Subscribe if you’d like.  Even better, offer a thoughtful comment on a recent post.
  5. Do not  automatically subscribe them to your blog or e-blast list. (This is one of my all-time pet peeves!)
  6. Check in with them in a week or two to see if they’d like to schedule a follow up phone call or get together for coffee, happy hour, lunch or whatever seems right.
  7. Don’t be offended if you don’t get on their calendar right away.  (Personally, if I took everyone up on their invitations, I’d never get anything done. But it sure would be fun!)
  8. Follow up in a few weeks – perhaps offer some information they may find interesting or valuable.
  9. Be patient. Show interest. But please don’t pester or stalk.
  10. Remember that the best relationships take time and pay off!

What would you add to this process? What has worked for you? What are your pet peeves about follow ups? What makes you hesitate to follow up?

Want more great information like this? Get my book The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Result in Business . It’s available with most online retailers.

Have a staff, team, or other audience who needs information that will help them connect more professional, graciously and confidently? Contact me at patti[at]intentionalnetworker[dot] com to learn more about my informative, interactive programs.