Like most things, networking is a process. And it has four main parts – before, during (an event), after and ever after. Do you give time and effort to all four parts??
Part 1/Before is the pre-event prep – your goals for the event, having a look through the delegate list to identify people you’d especially like to speak with, checking the event details (venue, times), etc.
Part 2/During is where most focus tends to be – the event itself, your opportunity to develop relationships with other delegates, share information and perhaps even have a little fun!
Part 3/After is the absolutely vital follow-up after the event, often done by email or a phone call. This is the connection between a short conversation while networking to making time to start to really get to know the other person and their business
Part 4/Ever after (and this is the one that most people trip up on) is staying in touch on an on-going basis to keep the relationship developing. This can be done through meeting up one-one-one, chatting at future events, email, social media and phone calls. This is the goal of any networking event – to develop long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships. Yet too often networkers think all the hard work has been done at the event or with a quick email follow up
Don’t fall into this trap. Put your efforts into ALL parts of the process, not just parts two and three. So how would you currently rate yourself for each part? What action do you need to take?