Ok, so you’ve attended an excellent networking meeting, party, book launch or seminar and made some great new contacts.
If you’ve taken my advice, you’ll have no more than five or six people to follow up with if that is the only event you’ll be attending that week; even less if you are planning to go out to more. The theory behind this is really quite simple. It’s all about time. I don’t know about you, but I never seem to have enough of the stuff, and I know everyone gets the same amount, but I swear I’ve lost some, somewhere.
You need to decide if you are going to get along with the person you’ve just met, and if they are actually worth your most precious commodity. If we consider new contacts as keys, ask yourself if they will open doors for your advancement, development and progress or this person just a key to provide access to a broom cupboard?
One of the biggest mistakes in networking is that new people are mistaken as potential customers and clients, rather than a rich source of future leads. It is worth always remembering that each new contact will know between two hundred and two thousand new people. If you develop your relationship with that person, over a period of time, with due care and commitment, if you demonstrate a high level of integrity, if you give before you receive, and if you maintain a pleasant and professional relationship, they will become your advocate and provide a new stream of contacts.
For someone who has hosted hundreds of networking events, perhaps you’ll be surprised at this next bit. I very much believe you need fewer, not more new contacts.
Here’s the science bit.
Let us assume you have met one new person and spent twenty minutes chatting with them initially. You may have asked them if they would like to stay in touch, and they have given you their contact details. You then go back to your office and perhaps Google your new contact, check them out on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. You may have added them on Skype or even YouTube. You may go wild and actually check out their website. Add another ten to fifteen minutes. You know you have probably hung out for too long checking out their photos/blog…
At a recent networking event I hosted, we discussed preferred methods of getting back in touch. Email and telephone seem obvious, but an increasing amount of people use LinkedIn, as we are all too aware how swamped our inboxes can get. Often people find me via Facebook and You Tube too.
My favourite method of communication right now is Eyejot video mail. It sends video content via an email and is fresh, fun and innovative. It also gets you remembered. If your new friend has been to a few Christmas parties and picked up a whole bunch of new contacts, your Eyejot missive will make you stand out like a Santa in a Scuba Suit.
Use this method simply to make contact. If you are going to arrange to meet, it is still best to do that via email, as you will need to refer back to dates and times etc.
If you then arrange to meet someone, you are looking to invest at least an hour and a half of your time, plus travel. Let’s say half an hour as you have probably been savvy enough to dovetail with other events.
Assuming the meeting went well, there will be follow up, so add another ten minutes for yours, plus at least another twenty for your writing and receiving further introductory emails.
If any of those introductions were worth investigating, you would now need to repeat the process above.
Let’s work out this calculation based on meeting just three people at a drinks event on Tuesday, two at a book launch on Wednesday and four people at a Seminar on Saturday. You may think this is not an unreasonable amount of new contacts and be questioning the point of networking if you don’t get at least six to ten new leads from each event.
Allow me to demonstrate how if you actually follow up in this way, you would soon have to give up your day job.
A calculation based on meeting just one person.
Meet them at event = 20 minutes
Looking them up on Social Media = 20 minutes
Follow Up, Arrange to meet = 20 minutes
Initial meeting plus travel time 120 minutes
Follow Up Email = 10 minutes
Reading and Receiving and acting upon three New Introductions = 30 minutes
You have just spent three hours and forty minutes.
If you were to repeat this nine times over the course of one week; that works out at one thousand eight hundred and ninety minutes or thirty one and a half hours!
Instead of attending too many events and allowing yourself lack ineffective follow up, wouldn’t it be better to have taken just one or two new contacts from each event?
Even then, if we look at our previous example, you are looking at a time investment of between 630 and 1260 minutes, or ten and a half to twenty one hours on follow up.
I hope this clearly demonstrates how we need to dramatically reassess how we network in order to be effective.
If you would like any further help with your networking or communication skills, please get in touch; I would be delighted to help.
Here is the link to Eyejot, give it a go, let me know what you think!