Today’s episode is Part 2 of my series on Networking for New College Grads. In Part 1, we learned about why networking is super-important. We covered where to meet people with similar interests and how to start building a connection once you’ve met. Today, we’re all about building an even stronger foundation.
When you attend a conference or presentation where you meet a lot of new people, you need to keep them sorted out in your brain. Collecting their business cards and writing what’s memorable on the back won’t always do it. Let's look at a few more tips for making your connections stick.
6 More Networking Tips for New College Grads
#1 – Take pictures together
If you’re going to make a new friend, it’s always a fine idea to remember what they look like. Your smartphone can help. If you’re at a conference, take a selfie together with your new contact and make sure your nametags are visible. Voila!—instant visual reminder.
If you have good rapport so far, ask for a selfie. Send your new contact a copy if they want one.
If you're somewhere where nametags aren't a thing, take the selfie holding up your business cards so they’re in view. Now you have picture and contact info in one image. Even though you’re relying on technology to make and preserve a connection, the dynamic is “We’re in this (this picture, that is) together!”
Not many people gather contacts this way … yet. When I’ve asked people to take a selfie with me, they’ve always liked the idea and gone for it. If you have good rapport so far, ask for a selfie. Send your new contact a copy if they want one. You’ll remember each other better and even have a picture you can paste into your address book entry.
#2 – Have a place to keep cards
Decide where you’re going to put the business cards you receive, and then always put them there. Maybe it’s your right jacket pocket. Maybe it’s your wallet. Or in the little pocket at the back of your Moleskine notebook. Just make sure they’re in one place so you can review them later and put together your followup.
At the sustainability summit I attended last week, I met a college senior who gave me his card. I was so impressed with his networking savvy that I put his card right in my jacket pocket. Or maybe it was in my program. Or my Moleskine? Because I hadn't chosen a place to store business cards, the card was gone when I got home. Undoubtedly stolen by aliens.
(If you’re the person I met at the sustainable mobility summit, please send me your contact information!)
#3 – Add the cards to your address book as soon as you can
At the end of the day, review the cards you’ve collected. Ruthlessly decide who you want to stay in touch with, and then enter them into your address book. Not your Facebook, Insta, or any cloud service. Put them in your physical address book, so if those online services were to go away tomorrow, you would still have their information.
Add a tag, as described in episode 406, “How to Organize Contacts for Maximum Productivity.” In the notes field, add the tag TENTATIVE, since you just met this new contact. Also enter notes about where you met and what you talked about.