Follow Up After A Meeting: The Thank You Note
You've just returned from a wonderful meeting, and achieved everything you hoped you would, and then some. You asked thought-provoking questions, and the employer provided a ton of useful answers, ideas, and recommendations. He also offered to introduce you to other people. You took careful notes during and after the meeting, so you remember the details of what he said about the people he's referring you to, and the main points of your conversation.
The meeting lasted more than an hour, and you're welcome to let him know how things are going. Now it's time to recognize his generosity with a gracious, sincere thank-you note.
Writing the Letter
Follow the grabber-definer-convincer-concluder model to structure a good response.
Grabber: This consists of your appreciation for the employer's time, sage advice, and excellent referrals. You may want to say that your meeting confirmed the glowing recommendation you received when you initially were referred to her. Of course she will keep reading to see what else you have to say!
Definer: This is where you paraphrase, comment on or further develop one or two ideas that were central to your conversation. You may want to provide further support for an idea, correct a misimpression, or otherwise show that you were paying close attention and appreciate her input. You don't have to agree with every point she made.
Convincer: Here you describe what you have already done or plan to do to arrange meetings with people she has referred. You'll also outline how you'll follow up on ideas discussed in your meeting.
Concluder: Close by restating your appreciation in different words and your intention to keep her posted.
You can use this simple model as the basis for almost any thank you note. In three weeks or so, you might send a second note. See the sample note below.
Typical Follow-up note after informational meeting:
January 30, 2008
I can't begin to tell you how valuable I found your insights into the current state of the architectural profession. I remain committed to attending architecture school, but I now realize that it would make sense for me to get some construction management experience under my belt first. That way, I could spend my apprenticeship years more fruitfully, obtain valuable experience, and earn money to finance my schooling.
I'd like to correct a misimpression I may have given you. I have not yet completed my bachelor's degree-in fact, I'm just completing my junior year. But several good architectural schools seem willing to accept students who have completed their junior year with honors.
I really appreciate your referrals to Bill Gault at Bechtel and Robert Woodridge at Granite Construction. And I look forward to meeting Denise Eldridge when you have the opportunity to set that up.
Thank you for your kind words regarding my portfolio. I'll plan to stay in touch as I meet the people you recommended and pursue the course you advised.
Don 't Forget to Write
It's important to send a note within a day or two of conducting the information meeting, for several reasons:
. It's gracious, and it confirms that you are a person who understands and follows business etiquette.
. You can expand on any points that you think might be important to the person and correct any misunderstandings.
. You provide a reminder (by way of expressing appreciation) of promises the person might have made.
. You bring yourself to the person's attention at a point when he or she may have begun to forget about you.
. You set the stage for a continuing relationship, which may prove productive down the line.