You rearranged your calendar, woke up early and attended a networking event. Success! Now you’re walking away with three quality business cards and superb ideas you had never even considered before. You feel invigorated and ready to kick start a plethora of new projects. Except your phone just reminded you that you need to get back to the office for a 10:00 am appointment and the flood of work related tasks wants to steal away your new found excitement.
Now what? How can you keep the networking spark alive after the event?
Day One: 15 Minutes
Fifteen minutes of organization is all you need to collect your thoughts. Sit in your car for 15 minutes or stop by a local coffee shop before heading back to the office. Take out your laptop, cell phone or old school notebook and write down what just happened. It’s all fresh in your mind. Who did you talk to? What did you talk about? Create bullet points for each of the quality connections you have just made. Let these be you’re networking textbook full of names, details and objectives you review before your next encounter.
Day Two: Send an E-mail
Go back to your notes from yesterday and send an email to each individual you met. It doesn’t have to be an essay, just a quick note saying it was nice meeting you yesterday with a crucial detail or two. Think mutually beneficial for the details, such as I am considering a website design could we set up a meeting to talk further about the process or the other networking event you told me about sounded great where can I sign up?
Day Three: Stay Connected
If you haven’t already, add your connection on LinkedIn. While you grow your physical network take the effort to grow your virtual network. Increasing your LinkedIn circle introduces new points of view to your feed and a chance to find more shared interests. LinkedIn also offers a causal, yet professional way to stay connected. If your new connection posts an interesting article, you may weigh in on the topic or share it. It creates the opportunity to stay connected without having to constantly email back and forth.
Next Networking Event
SAY HI! Networking events often have many attendees you want to approach and introduce yourself to, but never forget the people you have met. Take a moment to say hi to these people and ask a stimulating question beyond how are you? Ask how the latest campaign ran or something else related to the information you stored in your networking textbook. Present yourself as a strong listener who wants a stimulating conversation of more than “I’m good and you?”
Avoid getting lost among the business suits and innovative ideas. Reach out to your new connections and don’t stop networking just because you left the official networking event location. Be genuine by showing interest and remembering the things you learned. Establish a relationship of longevity, not of failed follow through.
Learn more about networking when you download our Guide to Healthy Networking