There are networking opportunities everywhere, whether you’re at a trade show, conference or chatting with someone on your commute. You need to make the most of every opportunity because you never know who you might meet! Here are eight actionable do’s and don’ts for following up with someone in a professional way after you’ve connected.

The Do’s

1. Send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn in a timely manor by including a personal note on where you met him or her and something you may have discussed. For example, “It was great meeting you at the ABC Event. I’d like to keep in touch about the possible partnership we were chatting about.”

2. Follow up via email to business cards you collected, and remember to personalize the messages. Let people know ahead of time you’ll be sending an email and have their permission; otherwise your email may be viewed in a negative light.

3. Try to follow up in a timely fashion, usually within a few days to a week of the event. It will help keep you top of mind of your potential clients or business partners.

4. Go the extra mile about how your businesses or connection can be mutually beneficial when you do reach out to someone. Take the time to research and understand what his or her company does, if you don’t know already. Consider extending an offer for a free demo or information session.

5. Set a limit to the amount of communication. Do some testing to see the optimal amount of touches that it takes to connect with someone. Refine your cadence and amount of outreach accordingly.

6. Keep your first email brief. Having to wade through long paragraphs of text could turn off a potential business partner. The purpose of the initial message should be to re-establish a connection. You can go into greater detail once you set up a meeting or call.

7. Include your LinkedIn profile link (personal or business) within your email signature to make it easy for people to connect with you.

8. “Like” a business you’re interested in on Facebook or Instagram, and follow that business on LinkedIn and Twitter. When you do, the business or owner may follow you back.

The Don’ts

1. Don’t send a LinkedIn invite to every business card you collect. You should have a one-on-one meaningful conversation with someone before sending them an invitation to connect.

2. Don’t buy a list of event attendees and email them all. This would be a violation of the CAN-SPAM act. Also, it’s not the best way to start a professional relationship.

3. Don’t wait too long to follow up with a contact. Time flies after events and it’s easy to forget all of the people that you might have met.

4. Don’t go on about your company without understanding whether it’s a good fit for the company or contact you’re reaching out to.

5. Don’t call or email multiple times if you don’t get a response. The last thing you want to do is make your contacts feel uncomfortable. Give them time to respond. If you don’t hear back, that’s a sign that you should be refocusing your attention elsewhere.

6. Don’t forget to include a link to your website in your email.

7. Don’t have an unprofessional picture in your email signature or as your LinkedIn profile picture. Something as simple as a photo can establish trust.

8. Don’t start a private conversation on your public social media feed. If you’re hoping to collaborate or set up a call with someone you met, send them a Direct Message.

When in doubt, think about what kind of follow-up message you would like to receive. Before you send out that email or reach out on social media, look at what you’ve written and ask yourself if it would compel you to kick off a new business relationship networking email subject lines. The way you communicate with a new contact can make or break a business relationship. Get into the habit of following up after networking and putting careful thought into what you say.

Networking events are a great opportunity to build professional relationships and connect with potential clients. However, the real work starts after the event, when it’s time to follow up. Writing an effective email after meeting someone at a networking event is crucial to continue the conversation and stay in touch. Here are some dos and don’ts of networking follow-up, including tips for crafting compelling subject lines and email templates. From including relevant details to sending the email within 24 hours, follow these guidelines to strengthen your professional networks and build lasting relationships through effective email follow-up.

The success of a networking email largely depends on the reader’s attention, which can be captured through an effective subject line. When crafting your subject line, make it short, clear, and enticing to encourage the recipient to open the email. The body of the email should include a friendly greeting, such as “nice to meet you,” include details met at a networking and a clear introduction of yourself and your purpose for reaching out. Using networking email templates can help ensure that all the necessary information is included and that your email is well-structured. A phone call can also be a valuable tool in establishing meaningful relationships, as it allows for a more personal interaction. It’s important to follow up with the people you meet and set specific dates and times for future phone calls or meetings to solidify the relationship and move it forward.

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.

© 2019, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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