Events are a great way to meet people and expand your reach to new contacts within your industry. One of the end goals of any corporate event should be to network and start new relationships that will become mutually beneficial to both you and your new connection. Learning how to network is a constant process, and there are many things you should do after the event has ended. Whether you’re attending a live or a virtual event, these are a few networking tips:
Review Who You Met
Collecting business cards and contact details are important at any networking event. But taking time after the event to review the names you have collected is just as important as getting them in the first place. Look through the names of who you met while they are still fresh in your mind and make note of the people you connected with the most and what you discussed. Add these notes to your CRM or calendar when you schedule a follow-up with the people you met.
Another way to use this review process is to improve your own networking skills. Are you reaching the right people at events? After you’ve reviewed who you met at the conference, evaluate how effectively you connected with your ideal audience. If you didn’t meet the right people, you can then decide whether or not the event is a good fit for you and if you want to brush up on your networking skills.
Connect on LinkedIn
If you know how to network, you know LinkedIn is a key place for keeping track of your connections. Make sure you share an invite to connect with everyone you met at the event. Next, you’ll want to review who those new connections are connected with and ask for an introduction if you feel it would help you meet your goals. Here’s an example of how to do this:
“Hi, Thomas — it was really great to meet you at the Annual Widget Conference last week. I enjoyed our talk about the future of widgets. I noticed that you are connected to Ben, and he would be a great person for me to connect with professionally. Would you mind introducing me? Likewise, if there’s anyone in my network you’d like to meet, please let me know and I’ll introduce you. ”
Likewise, you can offer to introduce your new connection to someone in your network, like this:
“Hi, Bill — I want to introduce you to Thomas. We met last week at The Annual Widget Conference and his insights into the future of widgets are exactly what we were talking about the other day. I think you might want to connect with him.”
LinkedIn was built on the principle that people need to build a network to be successful in the workforce. Leveraging this platform is invaluable for connecting with new and interesting people.
Follow Up Promptly
Once you have connected with everyone you met at the event, you will want to send them a follow-up email or LinkedIn invitation in a timely manner. It is best to do this while the event is still on their mind so they are more likely to remember your face and make an effort to respond. If you wait too long (longer than a week) to reach out, they may be too preoccupied with other things and forget about the event and meeting you there.
If your potential connection sees value in building a relationship, they may even reach out to you first. If this happens, respond and express your interest in getting to know them further on a business level.
Remind The Connection Who You Are
When you reach out, try to mention a key point from a conversation you had or something you had in common with the person you talked with. This will make the email more personalized and strengthen the connection with this person. Taking the extra time to make your message unique is a good way to make sure your message isn’t overlooked and lost in a cluttered inbox.
Everyone is busy and it is easy for people to get caught up in their daily tasks. Providing value to the person gives them an extra reason to keep you in mind when you may need something in return.
How can you provide value to your new connections? Here are some places to start:
- Think about the business opportunities or introductions you may be able to provide them with and take action on those.
- Are you able to help them overcome a challenge they have been facing? If so, offer your advice or assistance. An important point is to make sure they’re open to receiving advice before you offer it.
- Engage with or comment on their social media posts, which has the added benefit of showing their message to your audience.
Networking is all about building mutually beneficial relationships. If you are not providing value to your network, they are not going to provide value back to you.
Ask For a Meeting
Meeting with someone in person or virtually allows you to further get to know them and continue building the relationship. Offer to get coffee or schedule a virtual lunch in your follow-up. This is a good way to make a more meaningful connection. Ultimately, businesses are made up of people, so finding common ground to connect on (hobbies, teams, and the like) are great ways to do this.
Say Thank You
Of course, after you reach out you should thank the person for their time and any value they may be able to provide. Taking the time to let someone know you appreciate their time goes a long way in forming new relationships.
Whether you attend a live, virtual, or hybrid event, networking is still an incredibly important part of the event experience. Making the most of your time and meeting and connecting with like-minded people is part of what helps make networking a very successful tactic for any event.