The Power of the Follow Up

networking professional development May 20, 2020
Why Following Up Is Key to Building Relationships

We are all navigating this new entirely virtual business world. "In person" meetings are all on Zoom, Webex or Google Hangouts. Networking events are on the screens and in breakout rooms. While this can be overwhelming, one positive thing is apparent. You can meet and build relationships with a lot of people, all without leaving your house. 

Regardless of whether your connections are made virtually or in person, there is one key step some people miss when working to grow their network: the follow up. 

Have you ever used the phrase "Look forward to keeping in touch"? Chances are the answer is yes. Many times "keep in touch" is just a courtesy sign off. Not many people actually do it. 

You can stand out by consistently following up and checking in with your connections. Here are a few tips to stay in touch with your network. 

1. Congratulate them on a recent accomplishment.
Did your connection just get a promotion or start a new position? Maybe they ran a 5k or completed their first half marathon. Or they (or their company) were featured in a great article or interview you found. Send them a note to say hello and congrats. They'll appreciate you thinking of them and this can get the conversation going again. 

2. Forward an article they may find interesting. 
This is one reason why we encourage people to read and stay on top of their industry news! If you read an article that resonates with you and reminds you of a conversation you had with someone, send it on over to that person. You already know they are interested in the topic, and it can be a great 
way to say hello after a little break. 

3. Make a connection reminder list.
Create a google spreadsheet or excel sheet with a tab for each date of the month (1-31). No need to label the months - just write the name/contact info and notes for each person you touch base with. Then move on to the next day and do the same. When you come back around again the next month, you'll be reminded of those people you spoke to last month. If you haven't touched base since, it's a good idea to shoot a quick note to say hello. 

4. Thank someone for their help! 
Did some make an introduction for you or send you a recommendation for something you got value from? Be sure to send them a thank you, either via email or throw a thank you card in the mail. This seems really simple, but it's something many people forget to do. It's amazing how far a simple thank you can go in maintaining a relationship.

However you choose to follow up, don't be afraid to stay in touch. You aren't bothering someone by checking in via email or LinkedIn message every once in a while. As long as you are respectful of everyone's time, you can build some genuine relationships by maintaining contact and following up.