You made the effort to attend a networking event, even if you didn’t know anyone who would be there and that thought made you uncomfortable.  You forced yourself out of your comfort zone and walked around the room to meet people.  With time, you got into a groove and solidified how to begin and end conversations and also how to transition conversations into introductions.  Now you’re home and you’re glad you went.  You met some interesting people, identified synergies and had some great conversations.

So what happens now?

You’ve heard the importance of networking and looking for ways to grow and foster your network.  You’ve also had a lot of guidance on how to prepare for and what to do during networking events.  But do you know what you should focus on within 48 hours of a networking event?

Here is a to-do list to ensure you ride out the momentum from a networking event and build your relationships on a strong foundation:

Take notes.  While the conversations you had are still fresh in your mind, go through the business cards you obtained and make some quick notes on the back with key information about the person and topics discussed.  Make note of what they do, things that are of interest to them and what they need help with.

Do Research.  Take the initiative to deepen your understanding of the person, there involvement in various activities and find common grounds. These days, it is easy to find additional information on others on sites like LinkedIn and via personal or business websites. There is only so much you can fit into a short networking conversation so leverage these other means to your advantage.

Reach out.  Continue the conversation by reaching out via email or phone.  Let them know it was a pleasure meeting them, you enjoyed the conversation, and we’re happy to help in the event you can be helpful.

Reinforce your value.  Share an article or resource that is an extension of where your conversation left off.  Show that you can provide value to your new contact and that you can help them with their top-of-mind items.

Connect on social networks.  Let social networks help you continue the conversation.  Follow your new contact on LinkedIn or Twitter.  If they’re sharing interesting content, retweet it to share with your followers.  Acknowledge them in a tweet for what they do and what you’ve learned from them.

Extend an invitation to meet.  Take the initiative in deepening the relationship by meeting in person so you to know them better and can also discuss projects  you’re both working on and how you can help each other.  This could be over coffee or a cultural or sporting event.

Offer to introduce them to others.  Do the heavy lifting in helping them expand their network by introducing them to people who could be of help.  This will help establish you as someone who is well connected and as a go-to person if they’re looking to meet a certain type of person at a later date.

Your timeliness in acting after a networking event is crucial and lifts some of the weight in terms of how much time and energy it takes.  The faster you get to know the person at a deeper level and create a genuine relationship, the more flexibility you’ll have in continuing the conversation with them.  So take advantage of the momentum and create a bridge to what happens next.

Have you used a similar approach after your networking events?  How has it been helpful?  Are there additional things that you do to build your relationship with new contacts?  Share your comments below!

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