Networking: It’s An ART
You have attended a networking event. The questions is “Now what?” The atmosphere was amazing, great encounters. You have exchanged business cards with numerous people so now you have a pocket full of business cards with no idea what to do with them. The value does not live in the actual card itself. The key is to find out what to do with the valuable information that is housed on the card. We have a few simple ideas to help maximize that 3.5×2 inches of powerful information.
Networking events are just the jumping-off point for starting a new professional relationship- your follow-up is the key to developing it. And since the stopwatch start as soon as you meet, it’s best to start at step 1 within 24 hours. Within in the first day send a follow-up email to that new connection. Just a quick message about how great it was meeting him/her and add in something cool from the conversation you had (i.e. he loves fishing – add in “this weekend looks like the perfect weather to catch something good on the lake!”). A simple message lets that person know that you were grateful for connecting and enjoyed the conversation.
Following that initial email, you should create a follow-up file. For example, you could schedule them to pop-up once a month. Once you are notified, review the information about the first initial contact, and things you have discussed in the notes. Reach out to catch up, maybe set up another meeting perhaps over coffee or lunch. Even send something that may be valuable like an invite to an upcoming event.
Remembering important small things like birthdays, anniversaries etc is a valuable tool. So if you don’t have the birthdays etc on file GUESS WHAT!!! LinkedIn, and Facebook make it so easy for you to “remember.” Social media will also provide other occasions to reach out. Family celebration – you should reach out and send your well wishes. It’s always about the small things and small gestures that people may simply overlook. These are tools that will open up doors and make room for great business and personal connections. These small gestures can greatly help a new relationship (business/personal).
Recapping the Art of Networking
- Send quick email – just to say “thanks for your time, enjoyed meeting you…”
- Connect on LinkedIn – while it’s still fresh, reach out and connect! It can help further your relationship because you never know what connections you have in common.
- Create “reconnect files” – start a follow-up file to keep notes about the new connection.
- Remember significant events (like birthdays) – something as simple as a ‘happy birthday’ can leave a lasting impact so don’t forget those special days.
- Give first, expect nothing in return – How can you help the new connect? Think about them not you.
- Always go in with a positive attitude, with the goal to be a game-changer.
- Be the first to bring something cutting edge to the table.
- What you do is give enough to capture the potential client or new friend, draw them in, have them wanting more.
Remember that the art of networking hold the key to many rewards. This is a skill that you should master in order help success manifest and new relationships to happen.
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