Reclaim the Lost Art of the Follow-up

We meet new people all the time – and sometimes, we like them. We enjoy their company. We get a good vibe from them. We might even see the potential for a mutually beneficial business opportunity with them. But then we never see or speak to them again because one critical element is missing: the follow-up.

In a time when viewing someone’s story on IG constitutes a relationship (btw, it is NOT an actual relationship) and ghosting is the norm, the follow-up – a message and action plan – is a lost art.

Some people don’t do it because they don’t want it to seem like they are chasing, striving or coming on too strong. Some people don’t do it because they are afraid of rejection. Some brave souls do try but they do it in a way that’s weak, noncommittal and unproductive. “Let’s go for drinks sometime!” Sound familiar? It’s all too common and totally ineffective.

What people don’t realize is that a solid follow-up is a powerful way to develop relationships and connections that lead to a richer, fuller life. Who doesn’t want that?

So the next time you meet someone you actually want to speak with again, here are three simple steps to an effective follow-up:

1. Recognize when a follow-up makes sense. Did you like the person? Would you like to see them again? Do they have a resource or opportunity that is valuable to you? Then follow up!

2. Write and send your message. Yes, really. The template is the same for personal and professional follow-ups: a reference to how you met, a thoughtful comment, a suggestion of a next step and a proposed place and time – better yet, time frame. (Two weeks is a good time frame to use because it shows you are serious but still gives the other person some room to breathe.) Here are a few examples:

“Hi [fill it in]. I enjoyed speaking with you about [fill it in] at [fill it in]. I found your take on [fill it in] really interesting. I’d love to check out that new [fill it in]. Would you like to join me sometime in the next two weeks?”


“Hi [fill it in]. It was great connecting with you at [fill it in]. I had no idea you like [fill it in] as much as I do! Let’s [fill it in] sometime. What do the next two weeks look like for you?”

Or, if it’s a more professional situation:

“Hi [fill it in]. It was nice meeting you at [fill it in]. It sounds like your team is doing great things. I’d love to talk more with you about [fill it in]. Let me know if you would be available for [fill it in] some time in the next two weeks.”

If you get a response, great! Move on to step 3.

If you do not get a response, that’s okay. That’s life. You will survive all the no’s (and ghosts) on your way to your next yes.

3. Actually do it. Follow through on the plan you made. Do not reschedule, unless it’s an absolute emergency. Don’t make up an excuse for yourself or blame it on the weather.

The follow-up is an art. You will get better at it as you practice. Do it, and become more confident doing it some more. There is so much to gain – a new friend, colleague, client, opportunity – whoever or whatever it may be. We will never know unless we take the chance.