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Networking Pro-Tip

By January 14, 2024No Comments
J. Kelly Hoey - Build Your Dream Network

Let me just dive in and say this: NEVER assume you are so special (or your remarks so enlightening) as to be f’g memorable to someone else – especially a busy person.

Not sure about the rest of you, but I can’t remember where I’ve put down my phone in my apt half the time…so it boggles my mind when someone imagines, after the briefest of interactions, that anyone else could ever recall meeting them…without a hint of a prompt or reminder aka a bit of context on where our paths crossed.

Yes, this networking f’up is one which drives me nuts…as you can easily avoid tripping face first into this preventable networking no f’g no.

OK, now for a wee bit of context for this networking rant.

The sender fired off an email to someone she loosely crossed paths with at a large industry conference, that read (note: names removed to protect the transgressor, punctuation has been left in place! and I’ve added a few notes in italics…):

[Insert Email Recipient’s Name] ! — (! Exclamation point added in the salutation for an extra boost of congeniality and connection???)

I recently _________________interviewed __________________and we talked all about unique challenges for women in ________________.

I think you’ll really enjoy it, so I wanted to send it your way. Excited to hear what you think! (note: adding ! is not likely to drive podcast downloads)

[Sender’s Name Here]

PS – Here’s a link to my Calendly, if you’d like to schedule a chat. Always great to talk with you, friend! (note: friend! just no. and no words, as there was no conversation, just an email).

You’ll see, none of the one-sentence context I have provided to you dear reader, appears in the original email outreach. 

And without the littlest bit of context…guess the f what! The recipient who is a very f’g busy, highly focused individual…has no f’g clue on who the sender is…no f’g clue…making the “always great to talk with you, friend!” more than just a little ironic (and more additive to a “who the f is the person!” reaction in the mind of the recipient, which IMHO is a very human, and natural reaction).

So the not knowing…means the email gets fast-tracked to trash (or spam) and the interview (which, who knows! perhaps the recipient would have enjoyed listening to), is ignored.

Big f’g networking fail by the sender!

You many be asking yourself…how could the sender have improved the chances of their email being read?

Excellent question. And keep reading.

Simply by providing a reminder to the recipient on how, when and where they f’g met/crossed paths and what was said/pleasantries exchanged/whatever, just something to provide the recipient with some minimal foundation as to why this f’g email, filled with friendly exclamation points, is in their inbox. 

That is all that is needed. A little f’g context.

And perhaps fewer exclamation points.

Let me provided you with an example – on getting this type of networking outreach right – from my own inbox: 

Years ago I spoke at Pace Law School to participants in a unique program for women lawyers returning to the practice of law. Then years after my presentation, one of the participants reached out via email. Years later, I remember her outreach (even if I don’t really remember the event or anyone else who was in attendance all that much). The communication, I received opened along the lines of: “you may not remember me, but we met at [Pace Law School event]. I commented on your great shoes and you made a comment about my brightly colored glasses, then I asked you about_____”. The sender then proceeded to seek my advice (similar to the example which started this networking rant). Because the sender set the context of when and how we met – the place, the event, a dialog (which even if I didn’t remember it precisely sounds EXACTLY like something I would say) – this for me, was an easy email query to respond to (and hopefully provide something useful to the sender, rather than responding with “how do I know you?” – which roughly translates to “why should I care?” – or “why are you bugging me?” – or “who the f do you think you are for trespassing into my inbox?”).  

You, me, the sender of the email, all of us have a deep human need to be seen, recognized, acknowledged (not simply a need to have an interview we’ve conducted listened to and commented upon) AND that deep human need has a better chance of being fulfilled if we just f’g help remind the other person of the how, when, where! 

Pro-tip: state the how/when/where context up-front! Provide the prompt in the first sentence of the first email outreach! Exclamation points truly added for emphatic emphasis here.

Pew survey says, 8 in 10 don’t answer phone calls from phone numbers they don’t recognize so…why the f would you expect someone to respond to an email from a person they don’t immediately recognize???? BTW – I have yet to meet anyone who truly enjoys spending their unpaid/leisure/personal time responding to random emails from persons unknown. So do yourself a favor, by doing them the courtesy of laying it out in the first email – the how, when, where – do this to quickly transport the recipient’s mind down memory lane to the moment you crossed paths with them, so that they are more likely to take the time to respond in a meaningful way to you.

In short…add context to spark memorability, never assume you or the initial interaction ever was particularly memorable.

Note for new readers of my networking pro-tip rants: I am not commenting on the “here’s my Calendly” shit as I’ve ranted on that networking annoyance of mine previously.

J. Kelly Hoey

Networking Expert + Career Transformation Coach + Author + Speaker, Kelly Hoey looks at "networking" through a new, modern, fresh lens, offering you (who are pursuing and perhaps struggling with your big ambitions), advice on how to connect for success in a hyper-connected world that is woefully short in its attention span. Her network-building advice is relatable, instilling confidence with actionable insights and practical information.