What to do when one of your professional networking contacts responds to your email?

What do you do after you have contacted someone in your professional network and they respond?

Be human.

Today, you are going to spend 15 minutes connecting with people who have responded to your LinkedIn messages and emails.

There may be only one person who you need to follow-up with.

The F-word: Follow-up

When people respond to your notes, Follow-up.

What does this look like? Nothing more than a thank you for responding and then try to move from an online connection to an in-person connection.

It can be a meeting for coffee or lunch or a simple phone call.

This isn't complicated.

In fact, I'm embarrassed by how simple this is.

And yet, most people won't do this.

People will say, "I don't have time."

That's fine for most people, but not for you.

You are going to spend 15 minutes today and follow-up with one person to try to set up an in person conversation.

Got your timer? Is it set for 15 minutes?

Ready, set, Go!

At 15 minutes, Stop!

Did you follow-up with that one person? Did you follow-up with more than one?

Now you do what you would normally do as a human being: spent time talking with the person you followed-up with and find out how they are doing.

Talk to them about what is going on in their life. Find a way to help them.

And when they ask how they can help you, be ready to ask for their advice or their wisdom or their experience.

People love to help people.

People love to give more than they love to receive.

Make sure you are being a giver and receiving will take care of itself.

How to grow your network contacting people you already know

Today, spend 15 minutes getting in touch with people you know and the companies on your target list.

You're going to use LinkedIn or email to contact these people.

Remember, you’re not cold emailing these people. They should be people you already know.

Focus on the people you know who already work at the companies you want to work at.

Send them a quick note.

Nothing formal:

"Hey, it's been awhile since we were in touch. How are things going at X company?"

If you want to add more you can tell them what you've been doing lately:

"After we worked together a Y company, I went to work at Z company and have been there for a few years."

You don't need to ask them for a job.

You don't need to ask them for anything.

You simply need to get in touch with them to start the conversation.

Spend 15 minutes doing this and see if you can get notes out to a few people.

Got your timer?

Ready, set go!

At 15 minutes stop!

How'd you do?

If you have been following the rules over the past few days, you've spent 1 hour making lists of people you already know and finding companies you would like to learn more about.

You've also contacted some of them.

Hopefully, you are starting to see some traction on using this small amount of time everyday to grow your network.

Do you have a list of target companies? If not, here’s why you should!

If someone asked you to give them a list of the companies you want to work for, could you hand it to them today?

If not, that's what you're going to create in today's 15 minutes of professional networking.

First, what is a target company list?

It's a list of the companies you would be interested in learning more about to see if you want to work there.

Why do you need one?

The target company list helps the people you already know connect you with people they know.

If you say to one of your existing connections, "Who do you know?" they have no place to start thinking about people they know.

If you give them an anchor point in the form of your target company list, it gives their brain a place to focus and they can say, "Company A, I know someone there," or "You don't have Company B on your list, have you ever thought of working there? I know some people I could introduce you to."

Today, you are going to set your timer for 15 minutes.

You are going to look at the list of people you created and the places they work.

You created this on Day 1 and Day 2.

Using LinkedIn, you are going to click on the company name in your connections' profiles, read about the company, and decide if you want to add that company to a list.

It can be on paper, in a Word document, or on a spreadsheet.

It doesn't matter where you write down the names of the companies you are interested in as long as it is something you can email or print off and physically hand to someone.

If you already know of some companies you'd like to work for, add them to the list as well.

You don't have to know people at the companies on your list today.

Eventually, you are going to meet someone at these companies and they will become part of your professional network.

Got your timer set?

Ready, set, go!

When the timer expires, stop!

How did you do?

Do you have some companies on the list?

Keep this list accessible.

You are going to use it every time you meet with one of your professional contacts.

If you want to spend some time cleaning it up or expanding on it, go ahead, but don't over think it.

It's a tool to generate conversation and connections.

Next up, we are going to focus on how to use the lists of people and target companies you have already created to start expanding your professional network beyond the people you already know.

To build your network in 15 minutes, find out where the people you already know work

Day 2 of growing your professional network in 15 minutes each day.

A quick recap of Day 1, you spent 15 minutes making a list of people you know.

I don't care if you came up with 10 names, 5 names, 3 names, or 1 name.

The important part is that you spent only 15 minutes taking one small step to build your professional network.

Day 2 is about taking the list of people you created on Day 1 and finding out they work.

Just like Day 1, you're only going to spend 15 minutes on this today.

Get your timer ready and set it to 15 minutes. Go to LinkedIn.

For 15 minutes, you are going to look at the list of people you know, and, next to their names, write the name of the company they work for.

If they are not on LinkedIn, skip them and come back to them later, but try to search for most of the people on your list.

Set your timer.

Ready, set, go!

Don't worry if you didn't get through the whole list.

As long as you find at least one person you know and you have figured out where they work, you're a success.

That's it for today.

Tomorrow, we'll learn about some of the companies these people work for and figure out if they go on the target company list or not.

Who do you know? Take inventory of your professional network in 15 minutes

I wanted to try something that I have been thinking about:

Giving you a 15 minute task to complete each day for a week to see if it helps jump start your professional networking efforts.

I need to make sure you don't spend more than 15 minutes on it.

Google "online stopwatch" or use the timer on your phone.

Here's the activity for today:

I want you to write down the names of people you know.

You can write them on a piece of paper, or in Word, or on a spreadsheet.

It doesn't matter as long as you can find them later.

Here are 10 ideas to stimulate your brain. These are groups of people you may know.

1. Family

2. Friends

3. Co-workers

4. Co-workers from previous jobs

5. Co-workers who have left for other jobs

6. Social or professional clubs

7. Religious institutions

8. People you have met from existing networking activities

9. Alumni

10. Influencers in your industry

Set the clock for 15 minutes, and hit start.

When the time expires, stop!

On your marks, get set, GO!

When the timer expires, STOP!

How did you do?

Let me know how many names you came up with. That's it.