So, you’ve just walked out of a major industry event with a stack of business cards, a phone filled with new contacts, and a notebook brimming with scribbled insights. But what next? How do you turn those brief handshakes and conversations into fruitful collaborations? Here's a step-by-step guide to ensure you maximize the post-event momentum:
1. Quick Reflection and Categorization
Immediate Review: Spend a few minutes after the event, or on your commute home, reviewing your notes. This will refresh your memory and provide a clearer perspective on whom you met and what you discussed.
Categorize Contacts: Not all contacts will serve the same purpose. Categorize them based on potential collaborations, such as potential partners, clients, mentors, or even friends.
2. Follow-Up is Key
Send Out Emails: A timely follow-up email (ideally within 48 hours) can work wonders. Make your email personalized; referencing your conversation can demonstrate genuine interest.
Connect on LinkedIn: This is a no-brainer. LinkedIn is a great platform for professional connections, and sending a personalized connection request can cement your relationship.
3. Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings
For Local Contacts: If the person is based in your city or nearby, consider arranging a coffee meeting. A face-to-face interaction can provide a more personal touch and help in understanding potential collaborations better.
For Distant Contacts: A virtual meeting, via platforms like Zoom or Teams, can be equally effective. Just ensure you're well-prepared and punctual.
4. Engage on Social Media
Stay Updated: Engage with their content. It’s a way of showing that you’re interested in what they’re doing and can lead to organic collaborations in the future.
Share Relevant Content: If you come across an article, webinar, or event that might be of interest to them, don’t hesitate to share. It demonstrates thoughtfulness and can be a conversation starter.
5. Collaborate on Small Projects
Start Small: Before diving into a major project, test the waters with smaller collaborations. It could be co-writing an article, conducting a webinar, or working on a short-term project.
Mutual Benefit: Ensure that any collaboration provides value to both parties. Mutual respect and understanding are the foundation of a successful partnership.
6. Join or Create Post-Event Groups
Online Communities: Many events have post-event groups on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Slack. Joining these can keep the conversation going and help you stay in the loop about future opportunities.
Consider Creating One: If such a group doesn't exist, consider starting one. It can position you as a proactive participant and a thought leader.
7. Reconnect Periodically
Stay in Touch: Don’t let the connection fade. Even if immediate collaborations aren't apparent, sending a friendly check-in email every few months can keep the relationship warm.
Update Them: If you've progressed in an area that you had discussed with them, or if there have been significant updates in your career, let them know. It shows that you value their insights and keeps the door open for future collaborations.
Post-event networking doesn't end when the event does. In fact, that's just the beginning. Cultivating connections requires effort, persistence, and genuine interest. With the right strategies, those brief event encounters can lead to collaborations that might define your career's next big leap. Always remember, it's not just about meeting the right people—it's about nurturing the relationship thereafter!