The professional world operates by its own set of rules–some spoken, some unspoken. Abiding by these rules is important to maintain a positive reputation and build beneficial relationships. One of these norms is sending a thank you email after a business meeting.
We’ll explain why it’s a good idea to send an email following a meeting and how to write a short but effective message that closes the loop of a productive conversation.
What is a post-meeting thank you email?
Whether you were meeting a prospective client, pitching a new business idea, or gaining information to aid in your job search, it took time out of the other person’s busy day. A post-meeting thank you email expresses your gratitude for the time and effort they spent talking with you.
It can be short–just a paragraph or two is sufficient. It should be personal to your interaction, mention the specific value they brought to the conversation, and open the door to future communications.
Why it’s important to send a thank you note after a business meeting
Express your thanks
In business, time is money. Demonstrate your respect for the person’s time by showing that you appreciate their investment in meeting with you.
Build a lasting relationship
The breadth of your professional network can have big implications for your career, helping you learn about new opportunities, advance your skills and establish a strong reputation in your field. Sending a cordial thank you message is one small step that goes a long way to cementing a positive, long-term connection.
Keep the conversation going
Sending an email is a great way to create a “paper trail” of your interaction that you can pick back up if and when you want to reopen the conversation with this person. Replying to the last email in your thread will remind them who you are and what you spoke about during your last meeting.
When should you send a thank you
When they did you a favor
Be sure to send a follow-up message if the meeting was more for your own benefit than theirs, like if you asked them for an informational interview because you’re looking to change careers. Show them your appreciation for going out on a limb for you.
When the person brought value
If they offered to go above and beyond what the meeting required, like making a useful business introduction or giving you some great advice, a thank you message will show them their effort didn’t go unnoticed.
Shortly after the meeting
Send your message within a few hours of the meeting’s conclusion and no later than the following day.
What to include in a thank you email after a business meeting
Your sincere thanks
Get straight to the point and say thank you in the first line of your message.
A reference to the specifics of your meeting
Reiterate the key points of your conversation. This will prove helpful if either of you wants to refer back to the message in the future.
Context on how they helped you
Give an actual example of how you’ll benefit from the meeting.
If you can give the other person anything in return, offer it here.
Relationship-building conversation points
If you discovered any shared interests during your meeting, like a mutual love of vegetable gardening, you could cite it in your note to reinforce your newfound camaraderie.
A warm closing
Sign off with a professional closing and an invitation to contact you in the future.
What you should omit
Since they’ve already done you the courtesy of meeting with you, now isn’t the time to make another ask. The exception is if you’re following up on an offer they made in the meeting to help you out, like connecting you with a colleague or reviewing your resume.
Sample thank you email after a business meeting
Following up on a productive business meeting with a note to express your thanks ensures you’ll make a lasting positive impression and leave the door open to future interactions that could benefit both of you professionally.