When it comes to your network, look at it as a living and breathing organism that requires active nurturing. By all means, RSVP to events, strike up a conversation, and put yourself front and centre with people you admire or wish to work alongside. But consider that maybe slipping someone your business card might not cut it in the digital age.
To be clear, we’re all for the business card. Simply sending a cold email can be impersonal. Handing over your details, with a face to go with it, will have greater impact, particularly if you make a good impression. Eye contact and natural conversation is how all relationships are fostered, after all. Your business card will also signal to your contact-to-be that you’re someone who’s prepared.
After tastefully handing over your card, however, consider the next steps to solidify your position in their mind.
Communicate your intentions
When handing out your business card, request theirs in return and explain that you will give them a call in the near future, ideally within the week, to follow up. By doing so, you are prefacing that you would like the conversation (and relationship) to be an ongoing one.
Secure a second meeting
There is a fine line between assertive and pushy. If your first meeting, email or phone conversation flows easily and is mutually beneficial, request to send a meeting invite for a future time. That way, you can confirm that you will be seeing each other again and also allow yourself time to prepare and dazzle them once more.
Make yourself seen
More than ever, social media has traversed into the business sphere, becoming an online portfolio of sorts. If your own profile is looking great and up-to-date, make a further connection with the person of interest on LinkedIn; this can only serve as an open door for communication, as well as a reminder of your lovely face.