Speed Networking: What IS the Point Without the Follow Through?

If you are following this Speed Networking blog post series, you’ll find most tips can be of help to any kind of networking, in-person, online, speed or otherwise. You may shiver in your shoes and find that pen quivering in your hands just thinking about the follow up. Let me put this out there my friends: don’t even BOTHER with the networking, speed or otherwise, if you don’t plan for a purposeful way of follow-up. You’re just behaving like a spinning top if you do so. Consider what you’ve done at any one event, before you scatter off to the next:

    1. When you network you are beginning a conversation, and if you’ve followed some of the other tips to prepare, you’ve likely stirred someone’s curiosity to know more. NOTE: Introverts, networking is a place to begin a deep conversation not to attempt to have the entire discussion. Put on your planning forte when networking. The first encounter is not filled with small talk but instead a small amount of meaningful talk.
    2. If you leave your networking at the event, or even worst, make one feeble attempt with email or voice mail to follow-up with someone, you’ve now possibly created a conundrum for the other person in new relationship.
    3. If you haven’t focused your niche, your target, you’ll leave thinking, “All of these people are my prospects!” That can be your Achilles heel because of the overwhelm feeling of some much to do now that can lead to inaction.
    4. The very nature of speed networking is an organic process. To avoid follow through that moves things along to the next likely action is like a cream beginning to curdle.
    5. Your time and energy at any one singular event are just planted seeds of the networking process. For those seeds to grow into any might oak tree, a trusting and meaningful relationship, you have to nourish those seeds. Nourishing any relationship that you deem you want to take further means – a planned follow-up that you purposefully act on.

Okay, are you thinking any differently about your speed networking?

Have any of these questions taken your focus off of you? I’m asking you to consider what you have stirred up in other people with your exuberant enthusiasm during any one singular event.

Are you thinking about what your follow-up plan might include? Great! Because that’s where we are headed in the last of this series of making your speed networking most effective for you.

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  1. jeannettepaladino

    Speed networking has been touted so often as the “next coming” that I think it’s important to point out that not everyone you meet is going to turn into a relationship. I also think it’s important to be honest. At a speed networking event I attended there were at least three financial planners that I faced off with. I told them very honestly that I wasn’t a prospect for them because I’m very happy with my adviser. However, I did give them some tips about organizations to belong to and feedback on their pitch. Don’t let people waste their time with you if there is not any possibility of doing business with you.

  2. Going into any networking with expectations that “everyone” will be your prospect for something is simply unrealistic Jeannette. I like how you point out that you can turn things into a productive encounter by being a Go-Giver. Since in speed networking you are meeting everyone that’s great upfront planning. Thanks.

  3. I agree that not everyone is a prospect but everyone could be a connector. I try to focus on the small business owner that may know someone that would like to publish a book to promote their business. Although I don’t generally focus on the plumbers and construction workers I have found they have a huge network. I have had some great referrals from them.

  4. “Could be”is the operative phrase. If you take just one focus on each person (as I listen are they a prospect or a connector?) then that will let you know about future relationship building. Thanks Julie.

  5. Patricia, is speed networking on the increase in your country? In Australia it seemed to be a bit of flavour of the month a couple of years ago and now you hardly hear of it.

  6. Susan, I’m not sure about the country. Where I live, we are generally 5 to 10 years behind major metropolitan areas. So if something is just getting here, and it was only a fad, speed networking may have already made it’s way in other areas.

  7. Sherryl Perry

    I agree that you have to follow through. You never know how valuable one of those meetings can be. Sometime meeting one serious networker (with lots of connections) can be more valuable than meeting one new client. A tip I always use is to jot something down on the back of each of the biz cards that I get at an event. I write, the time, place and something meaningful. People love if months from now when you try to reconnect that you still remember those little pieces of info.

  8. It’s that remembering months later that shows up in a phone call or a greeting card or post card that solidifies the follow-up. Thanks Sherryl.

  9. Laura Sherman says

    Your point of having too many prospects, who are too generalized is an excellent one. I never actually considered that, but it is overwhelming. Now I’m certainly not introverted, but I am busy and the thought of calling a few dozen people who are lukewarm about my business is very unappealing. It is much more interesting to follow up with someone who you know is interested and you’ve built some rapport with. Good point!

  10. Being married to an extrovert I see this routine when we network together: he often collects a dozen or more business cards, I collect three or four. When we get home he narrows his follow-up down to three or four and I – am into my follow-up. Now if you can behave as my husband you can see that it can be managed. My guess is more people than not get overwhelmed and the cards just sit around.

    Thanks Laura.


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  2. […] Are you an online or in-person networker who procrastinates or hesitates with follow-up? What is the point of networking if you don’t follow-up? […]

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