We all have that feeling after attending large conferences or networking events where our minds are completely fried. Knowing all the great ideas that were swirling around your head the past couple of days now have to be implemented can make you feel more overworked than you have energy for. However, the key to good follow-up after these events is immediate action. So go for a walk, get your favorite coffee drink in hand, and sit down and try some of these tips.
- Business Cards. Start by taking out all of the business cards you collected that are now likely nestled in between speaker notes and restaurant receipts and separate them into two simple piles: Now and Later. Make notes on the back of these business cards as you travel through memory lane, indicating how you want to work with that person, what conversation you might have had with them, or why that service might be a good one. The “now” pile should be those contacts that you need to connect with within a few days, and the “later” pile can be saved for a week or two. This way you have cut down the pile to a less overwhelming amount, and refreshed your mind to all the connections you made.
- To do List. Get out a large piece of notebook paper and title it with the name of the conference and take a moment to review the agenda of the event. As you mentally walk yourself through the agenda, topics, and speakers, you will start to remember tasks or ideas you had taken away from each one and you can list them down. Next, go through each scrap paper or notebook you had during the conference also adding items that need attention to your master list. Then, feel a sigh of accomplishment at you throw out all those little notes and admire your task list. Jot down a day of the week next to each item, promising yourself to attend to them all, while prioritizing the most pressing ones.
- Don’t send out any emails the day after. The day after a conference is done, everyone is looking at a hefty inbox, and your message may get deleted, or not given the best attention while the other party is working to catch up on missed time.
- Personalize. As many people are sending follow ups out after events, it is easy to get brain fog when trying to remember every connection that is now saying, “great to meet you!” Try your best to remember a specific conversation or interaction, even, “sat at your table during that delicious salmon lunch!” gives a hint to those not especially good at remembering names.
- Be useful. While it is always nice to simply connect as a follow-up and state how nice it was to meet someone, a stronger follow up always offers the connection something. For example, in our split placement network, a good follow-up after a conference might be sharing a position you need help on or a strong candidate you could use help placing. Other ideas are sharing a post or a tool/tip/trick you use that they could benefit from. Try to keep these emails short, and if you are really interested in working with them in the future, use an action step or keep the conversation going. Scheduling a call or even just asking a question develops relationships.
These events are really the keys to developing as professionals and everyone you meet can be an asset to you and your business, so keep that in mind when receiving follow-ups as well.