Networking: Stumbling Block #3—Following Up
Yes, this is closely related to Communication, but it deserves some time and consideration of its own. If you’re like me, you tend to procrastinate about things like correspondence and networking follow-ups until you’d be embarrassed to send the note because it’s been so many weeks or even months since the original meeting.
When you network and you get those contacts and/or business cards, do not underestimate the importance of prompt follow-up. If you’ve ever been on a job search, you know how important it is to make sure you get your thank you letter out in the mail no later than the day after your interview, if not the same day. You want to make sure the person who interviewed you sees how efficient and on-top of things you are. It is the same way with networking.
Have you interviewed someone for research purposes? As soon as you finish the interview (hang up the phone, finish reading the e-mail, or get home from the location), write a note thanking the person for their time and the information. Then, once your book is published, if it is someone who did a considerable amount of work to help you, sending them a signed copy of your book (with an appropriate thank you above your signature) would be a wonderful token of gratitude.
Have you spoken at length with an author, editor, or agent at a book signing or conference? Show the same promptness. If it’s at a conference, take your stationery and postage stamps with you and mail it from the hotel so that the note is there when they get home/back to the office. If you’re that efficient, you certainly can meet deadlines, right?
If you have done any kind of networking and you say you’re going to contact that person about getting together for lunch or about the possibility of future projects, DO IT. Send that e-mail or make that phone call. Oh, and if you’re an introvert who isn’t comfortable initiating phone calls, calling someone’s office after hours and leaving a voicemail message, while not preferable, is at least a contact. Practice initiating phone calls, even if you have to write down what you want to say to make sure you don’t stumble and mumble (and you can always pray they’ll be away from their desk and you’ll get voicemail anyway!).