It goes without saying that we must follow up after a meeting. We know it, yet why is it sometimes so difficult to do?? Be sure that when you do follow up with a note, email, text or LinkedIn message that it is clear, professional and brief.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind.
1. Be sure it is grammatically correct and there are no errors. Don't rely on spell check or Grammarly. Re-read and be sure the word you want to send is the correct spelling and the right meaning. This works for any electronic communication as well as hand written.
2. Proofread your note and then read it again and type it on a word document to be sure you don't hit send by mistake. Make sure you have spelled your contacts name correctly. Don't guess on how they may spell it.
3. Personalize the message. One way you differentiate yourself is by showing your enthusiasm, interest or something you discussed in your meeting that was a connector for you both. Take the time to make your note be something the recipient will remember. I recently had an interview for a year long program that I wanted to attend. When I asked some of the criteria used for selection, I was told by both interviewers that the key was diversity. I made sure to highlight this a bit differently to both when I wrote their respective notes. As we know, often the notes you send are saved and attached to your personal file and you never want each person you met to get the same message. This truly works and I believe it helped me get into the program.
4. Be sure to take notes during your meeting– don't rely on your memory. I always like to say that no matter how sharp your mind is- it is still weaker than the palest ink. Write details that you learned about your contacts such as an upcoming vacation, something about their family or a project they are working on. You can add all of this to your "Information Bank" and be able to refer back to during a next conversation. You will stand out from the crowd.
5.Stay totally professional. Even when we really connect with our contact, we never want to come across too chummy. It takes time to build trust and develop that type of relationship.
6. Time is always of the essence. We all get super busy, yet be sure to send your note out within 24-48 hours after your meeting. Carry your stamped note cards with you or be sure to have their contact information in hand and sit right down to your computer and send the note. I often get asked how long is too long. Well, I remember meeting with a student from one of my college classes and he sent me a thank you note one year after we connected. At first, I didn't even remember who he was. The clincher was in a follow up email that he said he had been carrying around the note in his bag for 8 months…… Don't let this happen.
7. Remember my 3 B's– Be brief, Be brilliant and Be gone. Keep your note clear and to the point. Do not consider writing War and Peace or any documentary. I look at my personalized note cards that are standard size and I hope to fill the space on the card.
These are all very basic suggestions, yet it's all in the detail. The purpose of your note is that it creates an opportunity to reconnect, start to build a relationship and to keep you on their radar screen.