This is the huge networking mistake you don’t know you’re making

Illustration: Ashley Siebels

There are a host of ways you can go wrong when writing business and networking emails, from horrible subject lines to forgetting to include attachments.

But you could also be making another huge mistake — not making a request about the next steps.

As the sender, it’s up to you to be clear about what you want the recipient to do, as Quartz at Work notes.

Here’s why you should include a request

Heather Piedmont, CEO and Founder of Heather Piedmont Media, illustrates how to include an “action item” in a networking email in a Levo post.

“Don’t let it end at just an email that can be passed by; give them something to do in response,” Piedmont writes. “Suggest a time and date to meet up again and do a face-to-face follow-up, or ask a simple question for them to answer. This will make sure your message isn’t ignored, and shows you want to connect further. Sometimes (and even I have this moment) you hand over a business card and wonder if it will even be worth the paper it’s made of. With an action item, you show that you’re a profitable and positive connection with initiative.”

Here’s what else you shouldn’t do in networking emails

Here are some other mistakes you’ll want to avoid…

Don’t ramble

Oversharing by waxing poetic about everything that’s happened in your career is a surefire way to make the recipient’s eyes glaze over.

So keep it brief and to the point. Make it clear that their time is valuable.

Don’t copy unnecessary recipients at the company

Looping everyone in isn’t always a good thing.

Anisa Purbasari Horton, of Fast Company‘s Leadership section, features advice from Peggy Duncan, productivity expert, author of Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette and Outlook, and founder of The Digital Breakthroughs Institute, in an article for the publication about the follow-up email.

“Duncan said, ‘When sending an email, ask yourself who needs to receive the information you’re sending, and only send it to those individuals.’ If this isn’t clear, ask yourself the question, ‘Would I pick this person to call about what I’m about to email them?’ If the answer is no, Duncan said, ‘Why are you emailing them about it?'”

Don’t fail to turn on the charm

It’s possible to kill two birds with one stone here.

Heather R. Huhman, founder & president of Come Recommended, writes on LinkedIn that you should “feed their ego” in a networking email.

“A great way to capture someone’s attention is to flatter them with your email,” Huhman writes. “For example, you can highlight one of their accomplishments that impressed you or something you admire about them. This is a great way to show you’ve done some research and that you’re genuinely interested in building a relationship with the person.”