How to Follow Up on Networking Contacts

Alexandra wrote to ask what to write in a follow-up email to people she meets at important meetings in Bucharest. At the meetings, she often talks to potential clients or partners for only a few minutes, and she would like to take those brief contacts to the next level.

She asks what she can say to potential clients or partners in a follow-up email that will make a good impression.

It is wise to want to nurture those brief professional contacts so that they develop into something more. Here are things Alexandra and you can do in the first follow-up message:

  • Mention the meeting and the conversation.
  • Refer to something specific that came up in the conversation, especially a mutual interest.
  • Suggest a way to continue the conversation.
  • Attach an article or include a link that will please the other person (not a hard-selling piece).
  • Mention a next step you will take.

I have written a few varied samples below. You will notice that each one requires making a memorable connection with the other person and then mentioning it in the message. 

I hope at least one of these examples will be a useful template for follow-up messages for Alexandra and you.

Dear Mary,
What fun it was to meet you in Paris last week at the XXX conference. Inspired by our conversation about our love of oysters, I have attached my special recipe for oyster accompaniments. My secret ingredient may surprise you. 

I would enjoy having lunch or coffee with you when I am in Oslo the first week in October. If you will be available, I would appreciate learning more about your export business and sharing information about our company.

As soon as I know the details of my schedule, I will write to you again with an invitation.

Best regards,
Katia Strauss

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Dear Professor Schamb,
It was a pleasure talking with you at the XXX meeting earlier this week. I enjoyed learning about your work investigating global health programs. Since we talked, I read the research paper you recommended. As you predicted, I found the data surprising. 

You expressed an interest in learning more about my work with refugees on the Thai-Burmese border, and it would be my pleasure to tell you about it. I will let you know when I will be in Cambridge again, and perhaps we can schedule a meeting. You may also be interested in my blog, in which I wrote about daily life in the camps [link].

I will write or phone you to request a meeting.

Sincerely,
Mona Lane

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Dear Lucian,
I enjoyed meeting you at yesterday's breakfast meeting and talking with you about international trade. 

Since our conversation, I visited your website. I am very impressed by the work your company is doing, and I would enjoy talking with you about it further. I think you may be interested in several clients we work with in Ireland. The attached white paper describes one of our highly successful projects.

I will phone or email you next week to ask you about scheduling a meeting.

Best wishes,
Dana Duvall

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Hello, Nicolai. 
It was great to meet you at the networking social yesterday. Thank you for sharing information about the best Chinese restaurants in the area. I intend to try the Shanghai Restaurant this weekend.

I would appreciate learning more about how you established your business in Vancouver. Would you be willing to meet for lunch or coffee? I will call you next week to invite you.

It was a pleasure meeting you.

Jeffrey Holmes

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Hi, Renee. It was nice to meet you in Prague last week at the symposium. I am still laughing at your story about getting lost in Copenhagen.

You said you would like to learn more about investment opportunities in Romania. I would love to talk with you about the possibilities. Since you will be traveling for the rest of this month, would you like to schedule a conversation early next month?

I look forward to talking with you again soon. Please let me know a day and time that suit your schedule.

Donna

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Hi, Waleed. I enjoyed talking with you about customer evangelism at the gathering last night. Based on our conversation,  I would say we have a lot of the same concerns, and I would like to stay in touch. Despite our different industries, we face the same challenges and maybe we can share solutions.

Attached is an article I wrote about our favorite topic. Let me know if you agree with my premise.

If you are going to be in New York, please tell me and we can schedule a meal. I will let you know when I will be in Atlanta.

Best,
Muhammad

Do you have ideas or examples for following up on brief meetings? Please share.

Lynn
Syntax Training

18 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Lynn, this is a great post, thank you!

    It surprises me at how few people do follow up with networking contacts after meetings. (Those who don’t follow up are usually the same people who then complain that networking doesn’t work for them!)

    Hopefully your article will encourage a few more people to write a friendly follow-up note 🙂

  2. Lynn, this is excellent. I searched a few sites regarding the best way to follow-up after networking events. Your response was the most helpful to me.

  3. I think the hardest bit is to find a suitable subject/title for this kind of emails.

    Especially when the reply will look like RE:Title, you may wish to continue the discussion on a relevant subject.

    Any ideas for subjects/titles for this kind of emails/letters?

    Cheers,
    adrian

  4. Hi, Adrian. Thanks for asking about titles (subjects) for the emails. You made me realize I had not included them in my examples above.

    The more specific the title, the better. A title like “Follow-Up” is too vague, and “Glad to Meet You” might appear to be spam.

    I recommend referring to something you and the other person had in common, perhaps along with a reference to the past meeting or a future meeting.

    Here are examples that match my models above:

    1. Oyster Accompaniments and Meeting in Oslo

    2. Pleasure to Meet You and Discuss Global Health

    3. International Trade–Let’s Keep Talking

    4. Eating Well and Working in Vancouver

    5. Scheduling Time to Discuss Business in Romania

    6. Customer Evangelism – Our Favorite Subject

    I hope those examples give you some good ideas of what you can write.
    Lynn

  5. I have to agree with Adrian… it’s nearly impossible to come up with a subject line for a networking follow-up email that doesn’t sound either spammy or pretentious. Do you think it is important to include your name in the subject?

  6. Hi, Antonia. Interesting question! I do not think it is important to include your name in the subject for a networking follow-up email. Just use a subject that is specific to the person and your meeting.

    Except for “Eating Well and Working in Vancouver,” the subject lines above would not be mistaken for spam.

    For other kinds of emails, I do include my name in the subject if I think it will help the reader. Something like “Lynn’s Availability to Meet for Lunch” would help the reader know instantly what I am writing about.

    Lynn

  7. Lynn,

    This post is very helpful to me and I have used it quite a bit.

    Recently, after a conference, I was approached by an individual for a follow up meeting. Since we were in a hurry, I said yes without looking him up or asking him about his background and we met as scheduled. Turns out he is a really big shot in the political and public arena in the area I work.

    I am composing a follow-up/thank you email. I am stuck at the closing sentence: “I look forward to knowing you better?” “I look forward to more of your wisdom/guidance/insight?” What I want to say is that I want to further our contact to a point where I learn more from him and make more contacts through him. Please advise.

  8. Interesting question, Kalyani. How about one of these closing sentences:

    I look forward to staying [or keeping] in touch.

    I look forward to talking with you again sometime soon.

    I am glad we met, and I look forward to future conversations with you.

    I learned so much from you–I look forward to learning more!

    I will be grateful for continuing contact with you.

    Choose the one that sounds best to you, or create a variation.

    Lynn

  9. I am in the construction/retail business and I work through email everyday dealing with contractors and corporate clients. Can you give me an idea on how to introduce our construction management company to sub-contractors and retail clients? This would be really helpful. The follow up part is great.

  10. Hi, Jimmy. You need to start your email, letter, or flyer with something the sub-contractors care about. You should send a separate message to the retail clients, beginning with something THEY care about. In both cases, that something should be related to what you can do for the sub-contractor or retailer.

    In other words, that first sentence should answer the question “Why should I keep reading?”

    That’s a start.

    Good luck!

    Lynn

  11. Hi Lynn,

    The problem that I face is addressing the follow up email. The conversation that we had was a very general one. How to go about it?

  12. Hello, Mayank. General conversations are difficult to follow up on because they are not memorable.

    You might try emailing an article or other information that he or she would appreciate.

    My new book, “Business Writing With Heart: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time,” will be out soon and will provide more information about building relationships. Go to http://www.syntaxtraining.com/heart.html to read the first chapter and receive information when the book is available.

    Lynn

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