Last but not least, here is the final part of my power networking strategies series. Here are some tips for staying in touch and getting the most out of the new contacts you make at networking events.
1. Make notes about who you met and what they told you about themselves and their businesses. Add this information to your contact management system.
2. Give more than you take. Look for ways to send business to colleagues. See how you can help the person you just met, instead of expecting help to come your way.
3. Follow through. There’s no point in making a connection, then dropping it; you appear unreliable and shallow. Send a “nice to meet you” e-mail, connect on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, and fulfill any other next-step promise you made, such as an offer to introduce your new contact to someone else or send information.
4. Be professional. Don’t make typos in follow-up e-mails. Look like a professional in all your future interactions, especially written communication.
5. Say thank you. Thank colleagues for referrals and references and let them know what happened when they referred you. It’s an essential business courtesy.
6. Read the cues. If someone fails to respond to several polite efforts you make to get in touch with them after an event, they’re not interested in being part of your network. Move on.
A final tip: Business networking can be almost as nerve-wracking as public speaking, but the more events you attend, the better your skills will be. Take a deep breath as you enter the room and remember why you’re there. You have something valuable to offer. Be confident about it.
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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Gianfagna has been creating and implementing successful, integrated marketing communications plans and programs for more than 30 years. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.