We spend considerable time networking in person because we know it’s still the most important way to build relationships with colleagues, peers and potential new customers. We pick the events we want to go to and we prepare.For larger events we spend even more time preparing for the sessions we want to attend, people we want to meet and build in time for meet ups.
There are three important things to consider after going to any in-person occasion but especially bigger networking events:
• Prioritize contacts
• Customize follow-up messages
Here are five steps for converting the information and connections into actionable relationships after a networking event:
Sort Through Your Cards And The People You Met
Hopefully, every card you got was a person you owned a moment with, or had a meaningful exchange with. I like to write a word or two or note on the card to remind me of what we exchanged.
Review The Handouts And Information You Got
Take the time to review all the handouts, leave behinds, worksheets, post cards you took home with you. Take advantage of any incentives offered to you by the speakers and conference presenters.
Prioritize And Define Who To Follow Up With And Why
Although we gather cards at these events, prioritizing the warm connections and ones that make the most sense to follow up on should be followed up on first. Qualify why, and be specific about what you will follow up with them about.
Invite Them To follow Up On Social Media
This is the bridge that can help you get into people’s communities, stream, conversations and get you started in building commonality. Use LinkedIn as a starting point, add Twitter and then if appropriate Facebook. Comment on their blog, or invite them to yours.
Create A 30-Day Follow-Up Plan
Make a 30-day plan for each person or group of contacts that you would like to develop a relationship with. Be consistent, and interact as regularly as possible. Show up and be a part of the conversation.
Work through these five steps immediately. The timeliness of follow-up is critical. You will want to get back to people while you are both fresh in each other’s minds.