The real “art” in professional networking is what comes after the networking event: the follow-up and the building of a relationship.
Everyone has their own style and their own rules to following-up. What are yours? Don’t be afraid of setting your own to follow.
We have created a variety of following-up pages which are included in the Networking Planner to assist with your following-up strategy.
At and After the Event Follow-up: the pages
There is a follow-up after the event section in each set of event pages. This is where I usually plan my follow-up.
For each individual event there is a “at and after the event” section for you to:
- write in general follow-up actions (that are not specific to an individual contact);
- write notes
- carry out an evaluation of the event (did you meet your goals?)
- write some quick notes about who you met, or already knew who was in attendance at the event.
- write down any social media notes
After the general follow-up then there a couple of pages for “People I met” and the associated follow-up with these people.
Let’s work through an example:
General Follow-up and Evaluation and Review of the Event
First up is general follow-up items.
This might be something like – sign up to their next event, read a particular recommended resource or review the guest list. After the specific “actions” there is also space for some notes.
For the evaluation and review you are going back and reviewing your general goals and your specific goals for the event and asking yourself – did you meet your objectives?
To also help with whether the event was worthwhile as a general networking event we also include space to note down the number of attendees and the people you met and who you knew who attended so that you can build relationships with existing contacts, not just meet new people.
The last section is for the social media review / follow-up. This can be used for example if the event had an event hashtag, photographs or resources that you wanted to look at or remember post event.
Following-up on social media or by email after an event
So what about the people you met?
I attended a great event this week and met a bunch of great women, got a number of business cards and promised a few follow-ups. If one of these people are one of my Priority Contacts – then the follow-up will go in the Priority Contacts Section. Otherwise, I just use the event follow-up and planner sections of the Networking Planner.
I met Laura at the event and we exchanged business cards. This is the first time I had met her and she is not a priority contact. She goes in the event follow-up section (along with everyone else I met regardless of whether there is any specific follow-up). I then note down any specific follow-up actions to do with this contact. This might be as simple as write a follow-up email. Alternatively, I might have mentioned a specific follow-up action while we were chatting. If so, this goes here too. I then draft my email follow-up.
There is then space for notes. Most often I note down here simple facts and things we talked about.
There are times when a contact is not a priority contact, but still a decent contact and it would be a shame to waste an opportunity. If the person is one of these types of contacts it is important that you prompt yourself to make contact with them again. with purpose. This is where you can make use of the weekly planner section of the Networking Planner and schedule in an actionable follow-up on the to-do list after a proper interval of time.