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You attend an event and meet some fabulous people. You think you really hit it off with a few, yet the next day you’re only left with a few impressions and a pile of business cards (that you know will end up in the trash soon enough).

The first follow-up can feel awkward and challenging, plus form emails come across as impersonal and obvious. Plus, 99% of the time you will never connect with these people again.

To me, this seems ridiculously inefficient and a waste of energy. This is why I’ve been on a mission to remedy the black hole a connection seems to fall into after meeting at an event.

With the connection system I developed, I’ve been generating a 70% success rate. In fact, a follow-up email I sent after an event was so successful that it’s the reason why I’ve been invited to write to you today.

Here’s how it works:

1. Send the Email Within the Week
Wait any longer and the person won’t be able to even picture your face.

2. Keep the Email Short and Sweet
People are busy and inboxes are like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. My follow-up message are about 100 words total. This makes it easy for people to read and respond quickly, which makes sure the conversation continues.

3. Make it Fun
I love to get creative and always ask myself: “How can I make this email delightful to receive?”

It’s important to find a style that works for you. I personally love including funny memes and metaphors. Whatever your style, delighting someone at the very least brings a smile and is more likely to make a lasting impression. As Maya Angelou famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Read more: How to Cut Your Cover Letter Down to One Page

4. Be on the Lookout for Ways to Help
I actually begin looking for ways I can help while in conversation at the event. If I can, I’ll even make a note on the person’s business card to remind myself. And unsurprisingly, people feel special when you do so in front of them. It shows you care and want to be a valuable connection. This is the best way to stand out in the crowd where others are sizing up each other to gauge what they can get from each other.

Follow-Up Email Template:

Hey [First Name]!

Wow, the [event] was [reflective description of the experience].

[Personalized feel good sentence of appreciation or acknowledgment of the person you are emailing.]

[Express how you actually care about connecting with them.]

1. Shall we become [social media platform] friends? [link]

2. Want some fun + free [give something free of value]?

3. How can I help you? Especially if you’re looking for [topics / resources / ways you can help].

[your name]

Read more: A Quick Little Guide to Beating Your Email Addiction

Actual Email Example

Hey Erin!

Wow, the Summer Féte was filled with such beautiful people, both inside and out.

Including you! Your passion for your mission has stayed with me!

Most “networking” tends to fall on deaf ears and we never hear from each other again. I’m on a mission to remedy this.

1. Shall we become FB friends? (link)

2. Want some fun + free quirk-juice?

3. How can I help you? For realz. Especially if you’re looking for resources for thinking creatively + intros to awesome people.


Read more: 12 Effective Ways You Can Shake That Really Bad Habit Once and For All

Email Breakdown:

Let’s get specific about why this works so well.

The opening sentence brings the person back to the moment and reminds him or her how you know each other.

Then, by complimenting and reflecting the positive aspects of your experience, you’re helping him or her to feel seen and heard by you, which creates a stronger connection.

Next, expressing your why for connection helps him or her to understand your motivations and bond over a common desire.

Finally, by providing direction on ways to connect, you are showing up as a leader and making it simple for the person to take immediate action.

Also, there’s a secret ninja trick in the numbered list—do you notice how each one is a question? Questions offer choice. Instead of saying: “Let’s be FB friends” you’re giving this person an opportunity to choose to connect. This shows respect and helps him or her feel empowered.

Follow-up emails do not have to be lame. I’ve shared a few spices to enhance your messages and I encourage you to experiment with your own recipes.

After all, a follow-up is an invitation to connect and continue the conversation. This connection is with you, which means your version will be most successful when it represents who you are.

This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article above was originally published on The Muse.

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