It happens to so many of us. You attend a conference or some other professional event and have incredible, friendly face-to-face conversations with new contacts, but afterward, you fall out of touch with them. You’re not alone! Many people have a hard time keeping a relationship intact after an event ends.
Here are five important steps you can take that will help make sure all your hard work at a networking event does not go to waste.
1. Deal with those business cards
It all starts with making use of the stack of business cards you just collected from the people you met. Within the first 24 hours of the event add these new contacts to your contact management system.
Be sure to add a short note about a memorable aspect of the conversation you had with them. You may even want to add notes directly to the business cards at the event after each conversation, such as the event name and date.
Make it a priority to take this step as soon as possible after the event. The longer you wait, the more likely the business cards will just collect dust and you’ll forget who these people are — and they’ll probably forget you, too!
2. Reach out to your new contacts
Hold off contacting them immediately — people need time to catch up on emails and messages if they’ve been away several days — but set yourself a reminder to send an email or give them a phone call within a week or so.
Three things to keep in mind:
· Help them remember you — Here is where your memorable note comes into play: Include something in your email or phone call about what stood out from your conversation with them, to help them put a face to your name.
· Be short, but purposeful — Add an action step or something useful. Perhaps you have come across an article that answers a particular issue they are having. Feel free to share useful content, but do not add noise to their already bursting inbox. This is a time to remind them what you have in common.
· Avoid kissing up — Connect in a genuine, professional way. As excited as you may be to have met some of your new contacts, laying it on too thick could make them wary of you.
One more thing to watch: Before sending an email, consider the requirements of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). Although receiving a business card is implied consent, you have only two months to take advantage of it. After two months, your email could legally be considered spam if your goal is to sell your new contact a service or product.
3. Connect your networks
Introduce your new contact to people that you know who can add value in some way. This will help reinforce your value to him or her and highlight how both of your networks can mutually benefit. A generous networker is a valuable contact!
4. Connect on social media
Introduce your new relationship into your social networks, starting with LinkedIn. This will help you get to know more about the contact, who they know, and suggest opportunities for how they could add value to you and your career.
Also consider connecting on other social media such as Twitter and possibly Facebook. This is a perfect time to include them in a tweet to remind them how they fit into your network.
If they have a blog, start reading it regularly and add your own comments when it’s warranted. Keep adding value to your new relationship by amplifying relevant content to your network.
5. Keep In Touch
Face-to-face communication is incredibly important in building relationships. If possible, plan to meet for coffee to catch up. A phone call may also do if meeting in person is not feasible.
Do what you can to keep the lines of communication open so that they always have you in mind if a job opens up, if they come across someone in the same industry or field, if they find a useful article, etc.
It’s well known that networking is important to building your career. Every event offers opportunities to network, but once you make those contacts, don’t let them fizzle out! By taking just a few simple steps, you can grow and strengthen your network tremendously.
Good luck and happy networking from Eventastic!