blog header banner
Networking Tips Following Up with New Contacts

I recently spoke with Michael Spence, a brand consultant for Coaching Performance Results and a presenter at IFT’s EMERGE Live event, “Leveraging LinkedIn for Career Success,” and he shared some great tips for how you can follow up with new contacts after an event:

Step One: Prioritize

“First, I would prioritize the cards and the names I have,” says Spence. “Is it someone I want to collaborate with immediately? Is it someone with a potential business relationship? Or is it someone I just want to add to my network? Organize things by priority—from hot to cold—because the truth is, you may not ever get through that whole pile of business cards.

“When I leave an event, if there was someone I really connected with, I would follow up in the parking lot or at the airport. If I got their phone number, I would text them, or I’d send them a LinkedIn request with a personalized message attached to it. You just want to connect with them and give them a little reason why you’re reaching out. From there, I would send out any emails and whatnot once I’m back in the office.

“You don’t really want to ask for anything at that point, you just want to say you enjoyed meeting them and why you enjoyed meeting them. And you want to strike while the iron’s hot.”

Step Two: Timing

“If it’s a hot connection, I don’t think you wait five days to follow up,” says Spence. “If it’s someone that impacted you and you feel like you have an opportunity, you should make that first touch really quickly—either that day or the day after. But if it’s Friday and you’re out of town and flying back, maybe Monday isn’t the best day to follow up because they’re likely playing catch-up back at the office. So maybe you wait until midweek and then reach out and ask if you can have some time on their calendar toward the end of the week.

“If it’s someone you met locally and you think you might have an immediate opportunity, then follow up right away. But if they might, say, hire you in five or ten years down the road, just follow up with an email after a few days to showcase your follow-up skills. There is no magic timeline, but all things considered, get in touch sooner than later.

“And if you had a conversation that felt like a natural next-step would be continuing the conversation, then pick up the phone. Because if the relationship is warm, then people are going to be happy to call you back. If they don’t call, then send them an email, but I think that email gets ignored more than anything else.”

Step Three: Follow-Up

“When you follow up, one of the “do’s” is to remind them of what you were talking about when you first met, so you can return to the warm conversation that this all started with,” says Spence. “The second tip would be to have a goal when you have that follow-up conversation, and then state that at the beginning. Don’t make them guess about why you’re talking or meeting. Just put that out there up front. If they’re talking to you, they want to help you, so you should have a clear ask so they can help you and address it in the shortest amount of time.”


Want more tips on how to develop your personal brand and network with purpose? Check out our free on-demand webcast, “Leveraging LinkedIn for Career Success.”


Get More Brain Food

Read More Blog Posts

More Brain Food

From Farm to Fork: A Tech-Enabled Food System

Experts predict the next 10 years will be the most dramatic transformation the food industry has experienced in the last three decades. Learn how experts are using next-generation technologies like AI and blockchain to revolutionize global food safety in our infographic.

Celebrating National Food Safety Education Month

The onslaught of COVID-19 has heightened consumers’ concerns about food safety and made this September’s celebration of National Food Safety Education Month even more timely and relevant. The following information and resources will help you increase your understanding of food safety and share the basic principles with those around you.

Innovation and Collaboration: The Future of Agriculture, Food Safety, and Nutrition 

Several federal agencies unveiled strategic plans this year related to scientific research and innovations in agriculture, food safety, and nutrition. Science of food professionals will be critical to executing each of these.