I’ll bet that some of you have a stack of business cards in a snarl of rubber bands on your desk. It’s right next to that pile of spare change and the cell phone charger that doesn’t match your current device.
Those business cards are a constant reminder of all the following up you’re not doing, but would be doing, could be doing, should be doing.
Follow up is so important. That’s why I write about it often. (I guess that’s my way of following up.)
Not following up with connections you make and the people you meet is kind of like not connecting with or meeting them at all.
Following through is just as important as following up. Following through (the act of continuing a plan, project, scheme, or the like to its completion) is an important part of following up (to maintain contact with someone so as to monitor the effects of earlier activities).
If you don’t follow through, no one will ever follow up with you. Naturally, they’ll be less inclined to follow up with you if you haven’t followed up with them, in which case there’s very little follow through.
Then there’s following someone on Twitter. Or Instagram. Or at the mall — which might be considered stalking. Best just to follow up.
If you’re still with me, here’s when and how to follow up after networking at your next event.
If you meet someone at an event and they tell you they’re interested in becoming a client, you should definitely follow up. But you already knew that. Of course, if you can become their client, get in touch with them. But again, you knew that too!
If you meet someone you like and can help them, you should follow up — or invite them to do so.
If you meet someone you like and they can help you; yes, you should follow up.
The best scenario is if you can help one another. Even better if you can refer each other business. Or job opportunities. Or recruits to be hired.
If none of these scenarios apply, then there’s no reason to follow up or follow through. You don’t have to stay in touch with everyone you meet. How many of those business cards on your desk do you really need to keep?
Reconnecting with someone can be a face-to-face meeting (best), a Skype call (still face-to-face, but not as good) or a phone meeting. Whatever makes the most sense.
Here are some best practices that might help you follow through on your follow-up.