There’s always that one person at conferences. That one person everyone seems to know and is clamoring to talk to. This person makes people laugh, makes people feel good about themselves. However this person didn’t come to be by being a self-involved salesperson. They became that way by simply practicing basic humanity.
Conferences create an excellent networking environment where people expect to mingle and forge new relationships. Approaching someone to talk to them isn’t awkward or difficult once you get used to the conference atmosphere.
However, after the event has ended and you have plenty of business cards and conversations mixing up in your head, the spirit of connecting might begin to fade. Especially if you’re prone to forgetting faces, names or facts, capitalizing on new relationships after a conference might be a nightmare for you. If that’s the case, these tips might help:
Write Details Down
When you are meeting dozens of people in a short time span in a conference setting, it's easy to feel like important details go in one ear and out the other. We all know that feeling of someone telling you their name and you forgetting it within seconds. The feeling of panic and embarrassment sets in as you realize you've completely blanked it out.
Most people can’t remember every single detail that came up in a conversation even if it was relatively recent. In a conference setting, where you’ll hopefully talk with plenty of people, it’s even less reasonable to expect to remember everything. However, this information is what you’ll be using to forge the relationship, so you need every detail you can remember.
A good habit to develop is writing down the key details about the person you met immediately after the conversation. These notes will certainly help you when you’re trying to follow-up and think of what you might write that would establish the positive rapport again.
Set Follow-Up Reminders
“Hey! I just wanted to check in and see how your daughter’s art show went? I remember you telling me she was really nervous.”
A call for something that seems so small and unrelated to a professional relationship speaks volumes. It shows a genuine interest in the other person as opposed to just using them for business purposes. However, if time gets away from you and you don’t follow up, you can miss the opportunity to create these meaningful touchpoints.
A new connection won’t be valuable to you if you forget to follow up and develop the relationship further. It’s safe to say that everyone knows this and has the best intention of following up right away. Unfortunately it happens frequently that many still fail to follow up. But why is that?
Since the recommended time frame for follow-ups is within a week from the event, some things can easily slip through the cracks. Under the burden of returning to your other day-to-day obligations, you might forget what you wanted to follow up about, or who you wanted to follow up with. It is why setting up a reminder to go along with your notes can be all it takes to ensure that you follow up when you’re supposed to. What’s more, you’ll know what to write or say.
Aim to Be Helpful
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a sales pitch as soon as we have said “hello,” and it’s never a nice feeling. However, it isn’t much better to be hit with a pitch a week into knowing someone, either. Developing a good business relationship is impossible if it’s evident to the other person that you’re only looking after your interests.
Aim to be helpful to your new connection instead. That might be as simple as sharing some content that you think might be appreciated or offering to help them make a needed connection. If you’re useful and valuable to them, they’ll want to return the favor.
Making the most out of your conference connections becomes much easier if you develop the right networking habits. Nurturing a relationship after a conference is very similar to the evolution of a new friendship. The difference is, a budding friendship is more natural and intuitive. You remember details about your new friend’s life because you are interested and care; you send text messages because you want to talk to them; and you help them because you care about them.
Capitalizing on a new relationship after a conference is the same. The only difference is it feels less natural because you are doing it for a business purpose. If you treat your professional relationships with the same attention and care as personal relationships, these tips will come more naturally than if you perceive them as merely “business interactions”. In case you need help building and sticking to them, Contact Mapping is an app that might help. Join free for a month and start building your high-quality contact network.