Monday, June 9, 2008

The Key to Networking is Follow Up

You may do a great job of meeting and greeting people at networking events, and distributing your business cards, but what do you do when you return to work?

Proper follow up after a networking event/opportunity is critical.

Always follow up the initial contact with a brief note.

Be sure to express your appreciation if the person provided you with any information or other assistance. If not, just let the person know that you are grateful for the time he or she spent talking to you.

Once you have established a connection, find ways to keep it alive.

For example, if you see a magazine or newspaper article that might be of interest, it would be a thoughtful gesture to forward it along with a brief note. Acknowledge any awards, promotions, or positive publicity your contact receives with a congratulatory note. Call to say hello or to meet for lunch. Always look for ways to help the other person.

Remember, it is people who constitute a network. Business cards sitting in a Rolodex or names in a database can’t do anything to help you. They are just pieces of paper or words on a screen -- unless you put in the time and effort to keep the personal connection going.

If you do, the results will be more than worth it. Too often people wait until they need help before making connections. Do it when you need nothing; be willing to help others – they will definitely be there for you.

Effective networking can only enhance your career – adding new clients and, with follow up, building valuable and lasting business relationships.

Please post a comment and share a networking strategy that has worked for you. Then e-mail me -- so I know where to send your free e-book, 21st Century Pocket Guide to Proper Business Protocol.

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