Career Skills Development: Networking Doesn't End When The Conference Ends
By Carrie Burns, Marketing Communications Manager, ISCS, IASA Volunteer with Career Skills Development
Many are guilty of it: Collecting a pile of business cards, meeting new people, having a great conversation and then once the event is over, all of that buzz fades away.
Now that the 2015 IASA Annual Educational Conference & Business Show is over, are you wondering what to do with all of those business cards and mental notes you made while networking? If you haven’t already sent a quick email, do so.
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“You invested time already, so take the quick steps to follow through,” says Margaret Resce Milkint, managing partner at The Jacobson Group and presenter of this year’s educational session, Speed Networking: the Art of Making Connections. “There is an edge to immediacy,” she says. “Email all of your new networking contacts or connect via LinkedIn. If you only have time for one thing use LinkedIn. Reference your talk and try to personalize your brief message.”
With LinkedIn, being mindful of the value of building your network is important, Milkint says. “Set a goal or goals and publicize them. If you are public with your initiatives there is a greater chance you will achieve your goals.”
Next, Milkint suggests triaging your new contacts and select the top five who you should spend time cultivating. “Maybe send an interesting article or link or a book recommendation that speaks to your dialogue or a conference theme,” she says. Remember to humanize the process....what about a good old fashioned voice mail message, a call or even a short text.”
What should you not do? Expect to receive before you give. Dorie Clark, a marketing strategist, professional speaker and author of Reinventing You and Stand Out has a rule: Wait at least a year to ask someone for a favor of any magnitude. Clark writes in a March 2015 article on the Harvard Business Review site, “It’s fantastic if someone proactively offers to help you before that – and people often will — but it’s essential they feel it’s their idea, rather than something they’re coerced into doing. Of course, there are exceptions to the “rule” and if you’ve become fast friends with someone to the point where it’s clear you’re not using them, then ask away. But it’s far better to err on the side of waiting and establishing trust early on by helping them, rather than extracting a short-term payoff that damages the relationship.”
Networking is a two-way street. Human Resources at the University of California, Berkley suggests being a source of information back to your network. To do this you should:
• share what you know
• share resources you are aware of
• offer insights, perspective, and feedback
• offer your skills and expertise
• look for opportunities to make offers and contributions
• maintain regular formal or informal contact with key members of your network, including when you don't need anything from them
• ask associates if they are aware of individuals with similar interests or who have what you are looking for, and ask if they would make an initial contact on your behalf.
Pictured: Carrie Burns, ISCS
Marketing Communications Manager