I spend a great deal of time networking. When I am not delivering a keynote or a workshop, I am out and about meeting and connecting people. I am also asking for connections. Networking is the lifeblood of how business is done. I have learned to network from some true masters along the way and I will always yield to their expertise. That’s not news and is not the focus of this article. What I am thinking about today is how people do and do NOT follow up after I do my part and their networking happens. It’s a real problem and I hope to solve it today. OK.. perhaps I am being ambitious, but let’s give it a try.
Here are a few of my rules of the road when it comes to completing the networking cycle:
When I take the time to connect two people it means I have taken the time to write an email or make a phone call introducing two people and inviting and encouraging them to connect. I expect that those two parties will acknowledge the email or phone call and make the connection as soon as possible. 24 hours is a good rule. Same day is better. I know things get in the way or perhaps we are traveling but do your best.
- If you don’t make the connection after I have done what I do it’s rude and it’s embarrassing. It’s my reputation on the line and if you don’t do your end then I look bad.
- Once you make connection and figure out how you are going to connect with the other person, let me know. I want to know that you connected and that things are in motion. I love playing professional matchmaker and it’s a thrill to know that things are in progress.
- After you connect and have a meeting or a phone call which means you have completed the cycle I set in motion, let me know! Don’t leave me hanging and wondering if my efforts paid off. Give me details! I’m curious if my matchmaking made a connection.
- Say “thank you”.
- Cliché alert- Reciprocate, reciprocate and reciprocate again. Pay it forward.
Networking is a constant living cycle and responsible, professional and timely follow up is a part of that cycle. If you want to be the recipient of more connections and good intentions then follow up to the connector is a mandatory part of the cycle. Always be a gracious receiver of others networking energy and be proactive about saying “thank you” and “is there anything I can do for you?”