It's harvest time and we're enjoying a huge crop of heritage tomatoes from the garden, more than enough to share with the groundhogs. Pictured above are the fruits of my conference networking over the past few months. It's a huge pile of business cards.
I did follow up in a triage sort of way, but not comprehensively with everyone I met or exchanged cards with. I'm going to Podcamp in two weeks where I hope to do some networking. Am I going to just let t collect more cards for my desk to create nice arrangements, and take photos of them? Can I improve my networking technique?
Chris Brogan, co-founder of Podcamp, has offered up some post conference networking hacks, so I think I can do better. I liked this little trick:
I play “shuffle up and email” often. I take my cards from past events, and then send someone a random email (hopefully with value to what they’re doing, and mindful of what I’d want to do with them). The email is a “ping,” a chance to show them that I’m still out there, and that we might still have business. Further, it might just be the thing that gets someone thinking of me for another opportunity.
Chris also suggests making links between you met. Perhaps online tools like You Should Meet might also help with efficiency ...
Chris's reflective questions at the end of the piece "When you finish a grueling 3 day event in a foreign city, what do you do after reconnecting with your family? How does it relate to what you do for work?" Great questions to think about it.
As I looked at those cards today, I was reminded of a post by Marnie Webb called "Networking Your Networked Network" where she points to a ChangeThis Manifesto called "Care and Feeding of Your Network" written by Bob Allard, an entrepreneur developing software tools for connectors and businesspeople (www.youshouldmeet.com / www.referralmonitor.com) He offers five steps to greatness in Networking:
1. Know what he/she is working on.
2. Think creatively about how to help
3. Make a meaningful introduction
4. Follow up
5. Keep your network informed about what you are working on.