A quick summary of follow-up tips:
● Remember to send prompt follow-ups
● Make sure your follow-up is substantive, genuine, and specific to your conversation.
If you’ve come this far in your relationship-building adventure, you’ve likely seen that relationships require a lot of work. Researching, finding time to interview, organizing your schedule, and remembering how and when to follow-up are all daunting tasks — especially when you still have a full course load, internships and other duties. (Oh, and that ephemeral thing called a “social life.”)
There’s an adage I’ve heard my stepmom say time and again: Life is 90% maintenance.
If you think your journey with your contacts is over, think again.
But take courage! There are many tech tools at your disposal to make sure no important contacts are lost in your forest of friends and family.
Consider going old school; try Excel, one of the note-taking services (e.g. Apple’s “Notes” service or Microsoft OneNote), or Google Sheets. Or, if you want something more tailored, consider a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. PIW is a fan of Airtable, which offers a free two year pro subscription for students, though the basic version works just fine too.
It’s up to you what you want to keep track of – you might want to just start with what their connection is to you and where they work and when you last communicated. You can also use the template created for PIW by Diego Caceres: https://airtable.com/shrbhaWkZmiMun3ac
Fancy color coded table or box of index cards, it doesn’t really matter. But do make a habit of checking in with your contacts every six months or so, or at obvious moments like the end of a semester. Use the last email you exchanged rather than starting a new thread, and remind them who you are a little bit. Tell them very briefly what you’re up to (they might have advice on a next step) and maybe attach an article on a topic that you discussed with them or that you know they are interested in. Don’t ask for anything, and keep it short. Hopefully they’ll send a quick reply. As you continue to build the relationship, at some point you might want to ask them to chat again so that you can ask some more specific questions. As always, be sure to be polite and express gratitude. And have fun!