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5 Secrets of Post-Conference Followups

If you are like me, you have procrastinated instead of following up with all of those awesome people you met at SXSW.

But fear not, because:

  1. It’s not too late. Promptness is for after one-off coffee meetings and job interviews. Conferences mean the recipient spent a couple days ignoring their inbox while they traveled and schmoozed — they’re probably a lot more receptive to your note if comes several days or a week later once they’ve caught up on sleep.
  2. It’s OK if they don’t remember you. That’s what “reminding people” is for. If you send a message specifying where the two of you met, what you chatted about, and 1-2 salient facts about yourself, the recipient will either remember you or they’ll take 30 seconds to Google you / check your LinkedIn. This is good enough.
  3. …Unless you sent a generic LinkedIn connection invite. I’ve started ignoring these on principle, unless they’re from a coworker or a customer. Please customize the text so I remember who you are — those little avatars are not clear enough to jog anyone’s memory.
  4. Connecting with people is why people attend events. If all I wanted to do was hear what was going on at any particular conference, it would be a lot faster and cheaper to just follow the tweet-stream. It’s the connections to people (whether it’s me helping them this time or them helping me) that make conferences worthwhile.
  5. One reminder is okay. Didn’t hear back? Try again. Personally, I’ve never been annoyed by a single followup reminder — if anything, it relieves me of the residual guilt of knowing there is some email, somewhere, that I haven’t gotten back to. I send tons of them, too, and the response rate is incredibly high. Fundamentally, people like helping you, and one reminder helps us do that.

oh, and uh, hi everyone I met. Your email is coming soon. Hope you’ve recovered!

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