I’m not certain if there is a general rule to this – but if there isn’t, let’s create one.

When you’re at a networking event and someone offers you help, whether it’s a meeting or simply a coffee, make sure you follow-up. Odds are, you’ll actually end up learning more than you would have otherwise.

How do I know?  Experience.  In a speed mentoring session, I attended a few weeks ago, I offered help to all 50 people that attended.  They were young, ambitious, talented individuals all working on either finding their next career or networking to build their business.  These folks had a range of backgrounds and were all the way from 18 to 30 years old.

Of the 50 young individuals that I offered to help, only 10 connected; but they reached out to me through LinkedIn. That’s just 10%. 10% of these “change the world” individuals who are motivated and passionate about their career and their future decided to reach out through this network.

Now, I don’t consider LinkedIn a ‘bad thing’. After all, we did meet; but I hardly consider clicking a button on LinkedIn as an invitation to connect.

If you are wondering, only one person actually followed up 1:1. She was a young marketing professional that had some experience in healthcare and PR. As I know a few people in these sectors, I opened a couple doors to introduce her to some industry professionals that could then activate their network.

What is shocking to me is the lack of reception from the others. As I offered this connection to 50 individuals, only one took me up on it. For those of you counting, that is just 2%.

My step-by-step recommendation to change this behaviour is as follows:

  1. Make the decision to connect on e-mail (that’s the best way to get 1:1 engagement).
  2. Send a thank-you email, requesting the follow-up meeting.
  3. Remember the person who connected you – when meeting with the individual, remember an interesting point they mentioned, like a project they have been working on.
  4. Don’t forget the elevator.  If the top floor is 10 and you are at floor one, remember that this contact helped push you from floor one to floor two. There are still plenty of people at floor one.

You want to be part of the 2%. You want to be part of those individuals who followed-up. If you’ve just been offered the dedicated help of a seasoned industry professional, consider the benefits of having them connect you into a trusted network.  Chances are, the other 49 others haven’t reached out – so you’ll be top of mind.

The next time you are at a networking event and someone says, “I can help you. Send me a note” – do it! Even if you’re not looking for anything at the moment – consider the benefits of creating future connections for yourself.

You never know what possibilities will present themselves.

This blog was co-written with Jeff Nesbitt, a local influencer who helps organizations breathe life into big ideas. As the Founder of Culture Outreach, a boutique firm that fosters an innovation mindset to help organizations realize productivity and revenue growth, Jeff provides practical and pragmatic strategies that ensure growth opportunities are maximized. To learn more about Jeff, click here.