Are Meetups and “Speed Networking” a Waste of Time?
“This Could be the Start of a Beautiful Relationship” from the movie Casa Blanca
Real relationships are precious treasures, but those of us who spend a lot of time “networking” tend to accumulate a backlog of contacts that may seem overwhelming. Meeting people is only the beginning of a relationship. The fortune is in the follow-up!
Many “seeds” are scattered and wasted. My desk often gets cluttered with business cards, and my address books and contact management software are loaded (maybe “overloaded”).
The Company Line Blog has a helpful post about networking. Here is an excerpt:
- Control conversations by asking others questions about themselves, genuinely listening to what they have to say, and modifying your elevator pitch to integrate key points of the conversation in a way that solves one of their problems or creates a value added benefit for their clients.
- Think about networking as an avenue to build long-term relationships.Therefore, follow up with each person in a way that keeps you top of mind and relevant to their interests. (i.e., thank you cards, e-mail, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, send related articles, request a coffee chat, etc.)
The Fortune is in the Follow Up
I am doing some soul searching as we “speak.” Personally, I enjoy meeting new people more than I enjoy following up. From a relationship building point of view that seems backwards. I act like Johnnie Appleseed, planting new seeds everywhere I go — in the hope that they grow. My unconscious philosophy is that “some will fall on fertile soil and some will fall on rocky ground.” I have to remind myself that nurturing special relationships is like cultivating a garden. Flowers will bloom after a season of watering and fertilizing. Relationships depend on follow-up.