The true color of networking is often revealed after the event itself. The emails that get traded, the connections we make, and the relationships that continue to grow. Here are 10 things to do immediately after attending a networking function (conferences, seminars, business clubs).
1) Send email. Don’t wait for the next day or the next week. Chances are you won’t get around to it-and even if you do-they may not recall. Send an email to everyone you took a card from. Even if you don’t see an immediate connection, just say thanks.
2) Connect on Facebook. My favorite strategy. I look the people up on Facebook using their business cards and add them to my network. Now, I know their birthdays, their occupation, and their day to day status (literally!). Best Rolodex in the world.
3) Put one thing into action. Too many people walk away from networking events feeling good, but doing nothing. Take one decisive action from what you learned.
4) Introduce two people to each other. One of my colleagues, Jim Penny, is a master at this. He finds one person at each event and introduces them to someone else he thinks they should know. Now, where those two people take the relationship is up to them, but he is always remembered as the guy who made the introduction!
5) Contact one PRP (Potential Referral Partner). One of the best ways to grow a business is through collaboration with others. Joint ventures can be amazingly powerful. Whenever I network, I try to seek out one referral partner. This can be someone that I can send business to or someone whose clients we can help. The best PRPs are those who can figure out a win-win situation. Example: A web designer sends a printer work, while a printer recommends the designer to their clients.
6) If you took pictures, put them up on Facebook. Tag them whenever possible. Pictures are best posted when the memory of the event is still fresh. If you follow #2, then you can also tag people you have added as friends. Pictures are a great way to attract people to your profile as well.
7) Blog or write about your experience. Whenever I come back from events, my mind is spinning with new ideas. If I don’t get them down, they are lost. Bullet point ideas or write them across your white board. Just get them down!
8) Make sure your website is working well. If you met a lot of people, the chances are that they will check out your website. Make sure that it is up to date and a good representation of who you are.
9) Thank the host – if applicable. This especially applies to local events which are put together by one individual. A quick note thanking them will go a long way.
10) Check networking supplies. Yes, check your stock of cool business cards, pens, and stickers after your event – and before the next one. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to order cards overnite before I learned this lesson. Check your stock after each event, and you will thank yourself later!