In the past, we at Speak for Yourself have discussed the importance of expanding your professional network and have offered tips on the most effective ways to do so. Networking, however, does not end when you leave an event with a stack of business cards in hand. Networking is a way of creating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. Here are some practical steps to manage those relationships in the long term.
1) After speaking to an individual at an event, write details that you learned about them on the business card they gave you. This could include his wife’s name, an interest she has, or a project he is working on. Doing this ensures that when you reach out to her again, you will stand out as somebody who really listened and connected on a deeper level.
2) Make sure to send an email within 24 hours of the event to maintain that connection. Doing this increases the likelihood that he will remember you, your face, and who you are.
3) If you come across a news story, a project, or another contact that you think would be helpful to her, email or call with that piece of information. Remember, networking is about what you can do for the other person, not what you can get.
4) Make sure to be in contact semi-regularly. You don’t want to be a pest, but you want to maintain enough contact that your relationship can be win-win.