Tips for Maintaining Your Professional Network

May 08, 2014

In today's über connected and busy world, it's imperative to have a strategy for keeping in touch with people you meet and managing your network. Young professionals attend a lot of networking events and sometimes it's hard to keep in touch with people after meeting them. Here are some tips from HYPEsters Jeff, Liz, Mark and Jen!

First, always make sure that when you meet someone new or you're communicating with someone in your network, that you have the mindset of "what can I do for you?" instead of "what can you do for me?".

We have found it to be helpful to write a note on the back of business cards when we receive them. Sometimes it can be hard to remember specifics about everyone you meet at a networking event, so making notes will make it much easier when reaching out to that person later.

In order to stay in contact and follow up, it can be helpful to create a tickler file in outlook when you get back to your office.This will allow you to keep track of how often to have a "touch" with a person.  This "touch" can be through an email, phone call, linkedin message, physical letter or even reaching out through social media.

There are signs in knowing which "touch" is appropriate through the interaction that you and that person previously had.  Body language is a major component to keep in mind. Positive signs would be if the person was leaning in and very attentive during the conversation.  This shows that they were intrigued with the interaction and you can expect a warm response after reaching out.  However, if they were on their phone, seemed distracted and looking around the room, a less personal method would be best. 

Another key indicator to keep in mind is the the tone during the conversation.  Reaching out through a phone call generally means that you connected on a deeper level or that they showed direct interest in your skill, service, or good; they will be welcoming to hear back from you (upcoming event you're both interested in, looking to buy a home now, etc).

Reaching out through an email is a soft more transactional method.  Reach out briefly to jog their memory of the interaction, state your name, date, time of first meeting, and the topic of conversation.   If someone discussed interest of eventually buying a home, reach out with your contact information for the future and mention you’ll follow up in a few months- see their response.  

Ultimately, use your gut feeling on if you are pulling the person or if they expressed true interest.  Base it on the quality of the conversation and what was discussed not on the quantity of interactions you have had. Hopefully this helps you get started when determining the best way to maintain your own professional network! 

A BIG thank you to HYPEsters Jeff, Liz, Mark and Jen for writing and sharing this blog with us!



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