By Madeline Paterson, ABP Conference Speaker 2013
You met a bunch of great people. You really clicked with one or two of them and you invested a good amount of time to be there. So why let those valuable professional contacts drift away when you’ve only just met?
Life is a networking opportunity, so let’s not let it pass us by. You’ve got a stack of business cards and you still have an idea of who’s who, but those names and details are slipping away fast. You know your energy and inspiration will fade – so give yourself just one hour to do this.
1. Look them up!
Just Google their name/company or search for them on LinkedIn. By taking two minutes to do this, you might just spot something new and interesting that could help you to collaborate or to learn more from the work they do or from their contacts.
2. Get in touch!
Let them know that you remember them, straightaway if you can. Remind them what you spoke about, what you had in common and what interested you. You never know what opportunities might come from something so simple as saying, ‘It was good to meet you’.
3. How do they position themselves?
We learn a lot from our collaborators, from suppliers and from our competitors. See what you like about their profile, their marketing and market positioning. What don’t you like so much? Does it make you reconsider how you position yourself, or what you want to prioritise in your profile or marketing?
4. Who do they follow?
Check out who they follow and who follows them. You’ll make your approach much more appealing if you show that you’ve taken the trouble to check out their profile. And you’ll expand your view of your professional world too.
5. Be useful!
You vaguely remember saying that said you’d send them something, so make sure you do, whether it was a link to an article or the details of of an organisation, group, colleague or supplier. Helpful follow-ups make a great second impression. You are a useful person to know.
6. Connect them!
Connect your new contact to a third person that they might find useful. Ask permission before revealing contact details of course, but if you genuinely think that that both people will appreciate it, there’s no better way to show your generosity. What goes around comes around.
7. Be curious and opportunistic!
Ask questions and don’t be afraid to be curious about their work, their world, their view of things. If an idea comes to you, speak it and go a step beyond your comfort zone. “Don’t wait for opportunities to knock on your door. Waiting doesn’t work. Do the knocking.” (J. Krumboltz, 2009).
About the author
Career coach, consultant and lover of new stuff, Madeline Paterson helps professionals and researchers to spot new opportunities and find a satisfying working life.
She has worked in technology and learning at Logica plc, The Moving Picture Company, UCL, the Open University, is a visiting lecturer at the University of Southampton and was a speaker at the recent 2013 Annual ABP Conference.
“Madeline has real business nous and the integrity and sensitivity needed to get the best from people”