If you thought the actual networking part of networking was the hardest, you’re wrong – it’s actually what you do after your cool, collected mingling that really counts.
Get those business cards out of the bottom of your handbag and get to work.
Decide the value of the connection
There’s little purpose in meeting a bunch of people without any promise of future connection, but more important is knowing what that connection might be. Are you looking for a job within their company? Are you looking for a mentor? Do you just want to get to know someone interesting? Once you’ve got that figured out, try and be as up front as possible with your intentions.
Send a follow-up
Sure, you know this is something you should do but how exactly should you do it? First of all, acknowledge your contact will be pretty low on time, so give them a simple option for next steps – a low-key coffee or a 15-minute phone call, for example. As per the first step, be upfront about your intentions, as well as reminding them exactly who you are, touching on a subject you spoke about or something you had a giggle over. Make yourself as memorable in that email as you did the time you met them and don’t be afraid to inject a little personality into your message.
Consider yourself as a connector
While you’ve likely taken to networking to see what you can leverage from the scenario, don’t forget to consider what you might also be capable of giving. Is there an interesting article you could send their way to extend their thinking on a subject you touched on? Is there someone in the industry that they might be interested in meeting? Networking and connection is not a one-way street, so have a think about what you might be able to offer this new acquaintance.
Connect across platforms
Email isn’t the only way to connect. If they’re big on Twitter, throw a couple of tweets their way. If they’re active on LinkedIn, add them to your network. It’s almost like you’re letting them stay within their comfort zone, and as someone who’s recently got out of your own, you’ll know exactly how that must feel.