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Give a Professional Contact the Big F.U. (No, Not THAT F.U.)

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hands covering mouth

It’s been tempting and taunting you for weeks now. You know you want to.

It’s the one thing standing between you and a paycheck bump. This one little action will prove you have real cajones. You take a deep breath and commit.

You’re finally going to Follow Up.

Were you actually thinking this was about a rather overused vulgar statement? Actually, quite the contrary.

The best way to expand your career network and build long-term relationships with potential clients is to follow this tried-and-true follow-up technique. Here’s how:

1. Shoot new contacts a super-short friendly email

According to popular man on the Interwebs James Altucher, you can say something like, “Hey, it was great meeting you. Let’s do that again in a month or so.”

You don’t want their eyes to glaze over halfway through. Keep it short and sweet.

2. Actually give two cents about the person you’re contacting

Sure, it may seem like no big deal to send a simple email to Bob or Susie from Saturday’s young professional networking event. But why would you do that if you two have nothing in common and only exchanged five words — and one of those words was “appetizer”?

3. Be helpful by offering value and expect nothing in return

You never know if that business card in your back pocket can turn into a potential client, job or collaboration. So keep communicating, but don’t sound desperate. Give value first. That guy at Social Triggers, Derek Halpern, offers good tips on sharing valuable content to build your network and trust.

4. Check your pride at the door and try to connect others

If the value thing fails, you can always try connecting your contact to someone else who could benefit from their services. This is what some may refer to as entrepreneurial karma. It’s not a bad thing, and will come back to you ten-fold.

Networking well is supposed to be about the other person. (Click here to tweet this thought.) It’s not about you when it comes to getting what you want professionally. It’s about the person who’s handing you their business card.

And in that moment, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I follow up with this person in the next 24 hours?
  • Do I really want to stay in touch with this person long-term?
  • Can I offer this person something of value when I follow up?
  • Do I know anyone who would love to meet this person, or vice versa?

There you have it. A simple, yet effective, four-step process for giving someone a proper F.U. — professionally, of course.

So the next time you grab that friendly person’s business card, ask yourself if you really want to follow up with them. And if you do, then just do it.

Diane Pauley is the PostGrad Coach. Always a people lover, she finally learned how to harness her art and do it for a living. She is now on a mission to help other Millennials do the same — build up their art and be their own boss full-time — at PostGradolescence.com.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • Nicole Liloia

    Great suggestion — i love the idea of offering value and expecting nothing return. I love to help others and it’s important to remember that I want my business to be a generous one!

  • http://postgradolescence.com/ Diane Pauley

    Thanks Nicole! Agreed, it’s the simplest thing & yet people often forget to use the most powerful tool in their back pocket :) Businesses that last are those of long-term service for sure.

  • Jagoda

    Surprisingly, very few people follow up and it’s so simple to do. It makes someone stand out when they do and it makes me as the recipient want to help them more.

  • http://postgradolescence.com/ Diane Pauley

    Definitely Jagoda! Thanks so much for including your thoughts — especially being on the *receiving* end of a follow-up. I think it’s helpful for people to realize that it actually does make a difference!

  • http://www.creativetalentsource.com Jayne Gyarmathy

    I just had a candidate who I’d presented for a full-time job months ago (he didn’t get the job but was in top three) send me a follow up email – with a link to this article. Impressed me! Great advice to be found here.

  • http://postgradolescence.com/ Diane Pauley

    Oh Jayne, thanks so much for your comment!

    I’m so glad he was able to show his appreciation for all of your hard work & support for him (& super grateful he included this link!).

    Following-up goes such a long way & it’s overlooked far too often. So *following-up* on your comment, thank you so much for your kind words!