Over the past couple of days we’ve been talking about the sequence of events leading up to and during a networking event. In this example we chose to look specifically at a lunchtime event with a speaker. You can adapt most of these actions, though, to any networking event. Now that we’ve dealt with what to do before and during the event, now let’s focus on what actions to take after the scheduled end of the festivities.
From the end until fifteen minutes after. This is our last chance to get in a little networking. We should finish up that networking goal if we haven’t done so already. Also, if we didn’t already set up meetings for coffee or lunch with the people we met, now is a good time to catch them before they head out the door. Scheduling now will be a lot easier than trying to set something up later. We should take time now, too, to thank the speaker and the event organizers if possible. If something was particularly meaningful for us, this would be a good time to let them know.
By the end of the day. We need to enter all business cards into our card processing system, whatever that might be. If we don’t, I can almost guarantee we won’t do anything with them for so long that, by the time we do actually try to do something with them, we won’t have a clue who these people are. This is especially true for any people with whom we were unable to secure a future meeting.
Within two or three days. We should make contact with these people. If we don’t make contact with the intention of extending the relationship, then attending the event in the first place was somewhat wasted. Remember that our main reason for attending events is to meet new people. Meeting them is only the beginning, though. In order to make it worthwhile, we must continue the association.
Within two or three weeks. By the end of this period we really need to meet them for coffee or lunch. After that meeting, we need to make the decision whether to enter them into our long-term network. Did we have a good chemistry with them? Do they seem to be good networkers? Are they interested in maintaining a long-term networking relationship? By whatever criteria we use, we do need to make that decision.
So, there you have it, the timeline for before, during, and after the event. I realize that you already practice this stuff, but please, if you know someone who is just starting out on their adventures in networking, pass along this information, it will make the process a lot more pleasant and productive. It will help them grow their networks which, in turn, helps extend the power of yours, too.
Photo credit: Zvone Lavric