Networking events have so much potential as a starting point for building great business relationships. And when done right can lead to endless business possibilities and success. However, too many people make the same mistakes each time. Learn what they are and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: You jump from one conversation to the next and although you might have some meaningful conversations – you forgot to get their contact details. Whether we get nervous, caught up or just forgetful, sometimes we don’t exchange contact information. Luckily the other person might remember but you could lose out on a valuable business relationship so don’t forget.
Mistake #2: Even worse, you collect cards from everyone you meet, but either you wait too long to sort through and organise them, or you forget all the important details in the first place. Bottom line mistake: you’ve forgotten who was who and now you’ll have to back track and waste time figuring it out, or you won’t even be able to. Don’t underestimate the value you’ll get from just a couple minutes of jotting down notes after a networking event.
Mistake #3: You don’t take the time to review the handouts, worksheets and resources you received at the event. Networking events are laden with successful people, valuable knowledge and great resources. A big mistake many people often make is failing to take advantage of the incentives offered by the speakers and presenters.
Mistake #4: Failing to prioritise who to follow up with and why. You might have made many, many connections but the mistake people often make is not prioritising the most important ones while they’re warm. Go through and identify who makes the most sense to follow up with first and why. Don’t make the mistake of being vague and always be specific.
Mistake #5: Following up without a plan. You should have at least a 30-day plan for how to follow up with the contacts you would like to establish a working mutual relationship with. But you wont develop these relationships if you catch up once and then forget to show up. You have to be consistent and stay in contact on a regular basis (or as much as possible).
Mistake #6: Waiting. The biggest mistake people make after an event is waiting too long. Timely follow up is critical. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the person has forgotten you or the connection you made before you follow up.