Once a networking event is over, what do you do? If you're like most business people the answer is go back to your office and immediately get buried in a pile of work. STOP. Wrong answer.
A huge piece of your networking success is going to come from follow-up, and like anything else in life, it is your habits that make all the difference. If you routinely come back from events, throw the business cards you collected in a pile and forget all about them, you are probably not realizing the best return on investment from your networking activities. Follow-up is easy to do, but it is also easy NOT to do, which is why your habits are so important.
To make it as easy on yourself as possible, consider creating a follow-up checklist. Your checklist doesn't have to be long and complicated, it can be just a record of the simple steps you'd like to take once you get back from an event.
Maybe you will want to email some of the people you've met and thank them for something they said or did for you. Maybe you'll want to log onto your LinkedIn or Twitter account and send connection requests or follow certain people. Maybe there are prospects you need to call and schedule a meeting or coffee with. If you do an ezine, there might be names you want to add to your distribution list.
A simple networking follow-up checklist can walk you or your assistant through these steps so they get handled quickly and efficiently. You won't miss opportunities and you won't have that dreaded pile of businesses cards sitting on your desk collecting dust and making you feel guilty. A once-a-week trip through your checklist keeps everything fresh in your mind and ensures you're making the most of the time you spend networking.
TIP: Create and use a simple follow-up checklist to help make your networking effective and guilt-free.
© 2011 Barbara Wayman, APR, BlueTree Media, all rights reserved
Barbara Wayman, APR, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, a free monthly ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://BlueTreeMedia.com