Some of us are great at networking, others not so much. It takes a lot to make that one new contact. Either way, there’s no point making new contacts or connections, whether many or just the one, without a follow-up plan. You have to be intentional about following up and staying in touch otherwise the effort of making that contact was in vain. With our fast-paced and busy lives, it’s easy to let these things slip and no one would blame you since most of us are juggling so much. But it is important to stay in touch, so I’ve shared a few ways you can do this.
Let’s start with my first rule for networking. When you attend an event and meet potential professional network, get their details. However, ensure that it does not end there. It helps to send an email or a text message a few days after your first meeting emphasising the pleasure to connect. However, don’t sound promotional. Play it cool. This way you stay top of mind in their consciousness, and who knows where that would lead?
Social media is a networking tool. It is one of the biggest platforms and the easiest ways to keep in touch with your contacts. Comment on their posts on Instagram, genuinely not in a contrived automatic way. If they share an article on LinkedIn make a valuable contribution or share it as well. And don’t just do this for LinkedIn, you can do this for other platforms as well, share their posts, support them and celebrate their achievements.
Congratulate them on Birthdays/Anniversaries/
Most social media platforms send reminders about birthdays and the like. For e.g. LinkedIn sends notifications when someone in your circle has changed jobs or been promoted. Instead of ignoring the message or just clicking the button to send a generic message, take the time out to send a customised message. If you get a Facebook or Google reminder about a birthday and you have a phone number, send a text or if you feel comfortable enough with the person, take it a step further and call. These little gestures go a long way.
Leave your house. Attend more networking events and other types of events. You most likely made these new contacts at events you attended, so there’s a possibility that you may bump into them again at other similar events. Now, I’m not suggesting that you stalk anyone, lol. But if you have an invite to an event, or it’s an open event, and the person you would like to catch up with will most likely be there, make the effort to go. Also, be intentional, enjoy the event but seek them out(subtly) and have that conversation.
Have a schedule/set reminders
If you’re generally quite forgetful, you can set reminders or have a schedule for reaching out to your contacts. Depending on the purpose or person, it can be once a week, bi-weekly, monthly, etc, it’s up to you. Just make sure when you do reach out, it’s doesn’t come across as an activity that you’re just ticking off your schedule, but that you’re actually interested in doing it. Although, if you are really dreading these conversations or check-ins, try and mask it as best as you can.
Do you have any other tips for staying in touch with newly made contacts?