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2 Critical Steps To Building Your Network
In my previous article on CCG, we learned how to maximize your networking opportunities to potentially be part of the 80% and to help others in the process by knowing what to do prior and during an event. The final two steps to building your network are critical, and truly, the key to developing and sustaining your new professional relationship: organizing yourself and following-up.

2 Critical Steps To Building Your Network

1. Organizing Yourself

It’s very important to organize the business cards you have received and write down notes while it is fresh in your mind, including the name of the conference/event you met, their interests, what you talked about, etc. To store the many business cards, use an app such as Cam Card or Ever note Hello, and/or store them in a binder.
Make sure you have a system to reconnect on a regular basis as long as the individual has replied positively. Have a system in place to remind yourself monthly to forward articles of interest that would be valuable, an invite to an event, an introduction, or simply reach out to catch up.

2. Following-up

Within 24 hours, contact those in which you’d like to get to know more. It means more if you hand-write a note on quality stationery or send an email.  In your correspondence, help them remember where you met, what you talked about and who you are. Then, offer to meet or to have a 15-minute conversation on the phone sometime soon.  Hopefully, in your initial conversation, you asked “How can I help you?” and now you can provide the assistance that you promised.
In addition, a very effective technique is to also send a LinkedIn invitation with a summary of who you are and how you met.
There are helpful tools, including LinkedIn’s export tool whereby you can download all of your contacts and share their name, company and position so you can remember to reach out to your network outside of LinkedIn.
Others follow-up tools you can use are Newsle and HARO (Help A Reporter Out).  Newsle was recently acquired by LinkedIn and connects to your contacts and sends you email digests to let you know when someone in your network has appeared in the news. HARO forwards you three emails per day with opportunities from press outlets to be quoted or featured in their stories. It’s always a great gesture to share with your contacts who are a good fit when you see something pop up. Who doesn’t want to know about a press spot that they would be perfect for.
Organizing yourself and following-up using these small gestures will go a long way to developing and sustaining your networks and business relationships.

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