I am a staunch advocate for networking.  I think getting out and meeting people is a terrific way to grow your business.   But you have to do more then just meet the people.

If you return home after a networking event and empty your pockets, putting the business cards you collected onto the desk, organizing them in neat piles, tied with a rubber band and a promise to get to them someday, just toss them in the trash!  Why – because people have a short memory.

What did you have for lunch? Be honest, do you remember what you had for lunch three days ago?  I bet you don’t.  And yet the interaction you had with your lunch was significantly more intimate, than the conversation you had at the networking event. So if you can’t remember what you ate three days ago, how can you expect someone to remember you a week later? When you come home from a networking event, you have 24 – 48 hours to follow up.  After that it is too late!

Follow up can be be a phone call, email or hand written note.  A simple nice to meet you, or better yet information the other person will find valuable such as an article or introduction.  The purpose it to strengthen the connection, making yourself memorable.