Networking through Email

Networking through Email

We’ve talked about networking a couple of times before: beginner networking and advanced networking. Well, here we’ll get a little more specific about networking through the use of email.

First (and last), remember that networking is a two-way street. This is not about making a contact so you can get something from that contact. Think of it as making friends. And, instead of asking, try giving. If you develop the habit of giving, just as you would with a friend, then when the time comes that you need some help, your friends will be happy to assist.So, let’s look at how to use email effectively to network. And, let’s start with the subject line. Keep it short and to-the-point. Try to be specific about what you’re writing about.

If it’s a fairly new contact, use the subject line to remind the person where and when you last connected. For example, “Great to see you at the XXX.” Or, if you’re sharing some information you think they might be interested in, “Thought you might like this.”

In the body of the email, first remind the person of your last connection, “…it was nice to catch up at XXX. I enjoyed hearing about XXX.” Then get right to your point.

Keep the email short and concise. Why are you connecting with them? Be up-front and honest about why you’re reaching out. You are taking their time, so don’t waste it.

If you don’t get a response, it’s okay to write again. Sometimes, people glance at an email, then get diverted to something more demanding. Then they forgot. So send a courteous reminder by forwarding your original note. Most likely, they’ll respond to that one. If they don’t, move on to another person.

Be sure and respond quickly to any response, thanking your contact and letting them know how much you appreciate their time. If they’ve been helpful, be sure and let them know that, and perhaps follow up with them in a couple of months, “…just to let you know what happened…”

If you’re asking for a face-to-face, then be appropriately respectful of their time. Tell them specifically what you want to discuss and that it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. Then of course, if they agree to meet you, be prepared.

Approach email networking the same way you would any networking effort: be respectful, be helpful, be responsive, and be courteous. Always remember two-way street, and slow and steady wins the race!

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