Maybe you just met someone new – a colleague, a friend, a potential lover – and you would like to contact them again in the future. Get their email!
In a professional setting, the two of you will likely exchange business cards. When you receive a card, quickly glance over it. Sometimes people have listed an out of date address or even multiple email addresses. To clarify the best way to contact them, simply ask- “So I can contact you here at (reading from card) ‘email@example.com’?” If they provide corrections, you can note them down on the card later when you are out of their sight.
If there is no formal business card exchange, take the initiative! Ask for the person’s email address. Many people misplace email addresses or never follow up. By asking for the person’s address rather than offering your own, you ensure that you will be able to contact them again in the future.
To ask for their address, request that they write it down. I always carry a pen and small notebook with me for this purpose. If you do not have writing materials with you, offer whatever you have – the back of your own business card, a pamphlet, a receipt, a napkin. Since email addresses often include non-standard letter combinations, be sure to read the address back to the person – “So I can reach you at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’?” Again, if they provide corrections or clarifications, note them down.
Unless the person directly asks, I usually do not offer my own address. Instead, I say- “Thank you for your email address. No problem about mine. I will send you an email as soon as I get home.” The person will be grateful not to have to deal with yet another email address.
Once you get back to your computer, send two quick emails.
1) Email yourself the new address.
I suggest including details about the person – name, affiliation, circumstances of meeting, appearance, noteworthy facts. That way, if you later receive an email from the person but have forgotten who they are, you can use your own email to jog your memory.
New Contact: Bob Leonard (Univ. of Washington)
University of Washington, Biology
met at October 4, 2010 dinner for visiting academics
developing non-allergenic peanuts for United States market
tall, originally from New York City
2) Email the person.
Oct 4 event: Great meeting you!
I really enjoyed our conversation at the October 4th event for visiting academics hosted by Boston University. It was fascinating to learn about your recent advances in breeding non-allergenic peanuts, especially given my own peanut allergy.
Let’s be in touch again! If you are ever back in New York, give me a call.