Three stages of networking

I do a lot of networking and I treat each event as a business meeting, and I always prepare for business meetings.  At each event there is the possibility that I will meet the best contact I have ever met, and that’s what excites me about networking.

Here are three stages I use:

The first stage is prior to the event: when I accept an invitation to an event, I book some extra time after the event into my diary, so I don’t have to rush off. If there is s delegates list I look through and see if there is anyone I would like to take more time to talk to and I will contact them and ask if they would like a 1-2-1 after the event.

If there isn’t anyone who I want a 1-2-1 with at that time, then I can just spend more time with people at the event.

Stage two is at the meeting. I use my 3/3/3 rule (See

After the meeting I move into stage three, I continue to develop the relationships with people I have met at the event. First, I email everyone who’s card I have and thank them for their time, ask did they find the event productive, send them any information I have agreed to send them, sometimes this is information about one of our Groups, sometimes information about the ad-hoc networking events we arrange that are not part of our core business.  (I always ask someone when they give me their card if they are OK with me sending them information) Occasionally I will suggest a 1-2-1.

Whatever the email says I always make contact after any event, and yes it takes time, but since the point of networking is starting and developing relationships, it seems obvious to me that this is part of successful networking.

What do you think?

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