Phew, you made it through a networking event.
Now that you are home, let’s tackle the next and possibly most important step: follow-up.
Remember, no matter your goal, it only takes one great connection to get the ball rolling. That individual may become your next client, refer you to your first customer, help you find funding for your venture or fulfill that one need that will set your world spinning.
So, let’s ensure you made an impression by following up in a professional manner that isn’t perceived as needy or hollow.
Here are some tried and true follow up activities (try a few, but for goodness sake, do not inundate one person with all of these!):
- Identify individuals you’d like to speak with more intimately. Contact them to see if they would be available to meet for coffee to tell you more about what they do for their organization.
- Make a list and craft a note you will personalize for each contact. Email is ideal but if you have time, snail mail can leave an impression. Let them know you will be calling them to follow up.
- Connect on LinkedIn. Send a personal message to remind the contact of your conversation. Let them know how nice it was to talk with them and if you feel gutsy, that you’ll be in touch to meet again in person sometime soon.
- Write notes on their business card. This will help you remember the conversation you shared, what you had in common, or ideas for potential collaborations down the road.
- Connect on Twitter. Tweet a “great to connect with you at the _____ (ex: @wepropelle) event” or offer some concrete helpful resource links based on your conversation.
- Offer a way to reconnect in the future. Whether it's a coffee date or at another event, make it easy to get together.
- Schedule yourself a reminder to follow up and do it! This may sound like a no-brainer, but think about how many times you have meant to do something but it got pushed aside and forgotten. Don't let that happen.
After you’ve done the deed and reached out through one of these methods, file business cards for future reference. You might want to follow up in a month if he or she hasn’t yet reciprocated the connection.
And, last but not least, pat yourself on the back for having put yourself out there.