As executives, business professionals and business owners we all know the importance of networking and having a strong professional network in order to sustain our career and business success.
We also value our time and money. So we make conscious decisions on how we invest in ourselves and what networking events we attend. We make these decisions not only based on ROI but also based on ROT (e.g. return on our time away from our office and our family).
While we tend to focus primarily on preparing for how to best present ourselves at the actual networking event, (which, yes, is very important) we also tend to forget the importance and value of how we present ourselves after the networking event has ended.
When we leave out this key aspect we are not leveraging our networking experience. As such, we miss out on opportunities and relationships that could serve our growth, development and success now and in the future.
Here are four of my favorite post-networking success strategies.
1. Share your experience and what you learned.
This is a fun and easy way for you to review your notes and mine for more million-dollar ideas at the same time. You’ll discover that while you’re sharing your experience and answering questions to those who didn’t attend the event, you are also deepening your understanding and knowledge. In addition, you are making a meaningful and positive impact on the individuals whom you are sharing your experience with. They will value and appreciate all the golden success nuggets that they, too, can use to help them succeed personally and professionally.
2. Decide the 1, 2 or 3 new ideas you’d like to implement.
You won’t be able to get started on everything that you just heard and learned – at least not right away. That’s ok. Decide on at least one idea that you can put in place and implement within the next 30 days. Don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to take action on everything all at once. It’s not a good use of your time or energy. And you won’t be as effective as you can be. Rather, be intentional with what you decide to take immediate action on. Choose the idea(s) that you’re excited, energized and inspired by, supports your top career or business goals, and aligns with your vision, values and purpose.
3. Get social, online.
Connect and follow the people you’ve recently met (or heard speak) that your heart and soul would love for you to foster a professional relationship with. This will not be with everyone you’ve met. That’s ok. Your career and business vision will not resonate with everyone. Listen to your heart and soul for guidance and direction. Then continue nurturing online what first began offline. Want to take it up a notch? Share some of your favorite learnings to your tweeps on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. Don’t forget to include the event’s hash tag when you share on Twitter. This will create new opportunities for you to connect and network online with new people who either attended the event or who followed the event online.
4. Follow up wisely
This is the easy place for us to either create a really bad impression or have our uniqueness shine brightly. Instead of (1) automatically adding someone to your newsletter list just because they gave you their business card, (2) sending a form sales email promoting yourself and your business and “disguising” it as a “nice to meet you/following up” email or (3) not following up as promised – do things differently. Make sure to express your authentic self in a professional email or phone call. And then extend an invitation to stay connected that is real, genuine and memorable.