Who did you have a 121 with at the business networking event last Wednesday? Can you still remember? Did you promise to do anything? To send an Email or make an introduction to someone else? Have you done it?
What about that 121 you had three months ago. Can you remember anything about it? Particularly if you regularly attend networking events and have lots of 121s?
Here’s something I recommend.
Every week, audit your networking for the previous week. Go back through your memory, the business cards you’ve collected and, if you’re a member of 4Networking, the “View Attendees” feature of the 4N website for the meetings you’ve been to.
Have a good think about those conversations you had. If you’ve read Business Networking For Dummies you’ll know that I strongly recommend taking notes and actions immediately after the event. But sometimes it doesn’t happen. So think about those conversations you had last week. Did you make any notes? Is there anything you said you were going to do that you haven’t done yet?
By the way, I’m a massive fan of Evernote and use it to scan in business cards and make notes on them (something I recommend in the book). I also use a CRM system called Capsule to make sure that I record everything and set myself tasks to follow up with people, so that I don’t forget.
Here’s the thing, I have said very often that “Every big opportunity starts with a little conversation”. It’s vital that you take action on those little conversations. Who mentioned that they are “thinking about” coming to your next workshop? Or might be interested in you working with them “at some point”. Are you going to rely on them doing something about it, or will you gently follow up with them and keep in touch with them so that you are in the right place at the right time when they are ready to do something about it?
Sit down once a week and reflect on the little conversations you’ve had that week. Was there something you were meant to do? And more importantly, did someone move a little closer to you and are you taking the actions necessary to give that some momentum?
PS – this is part of what I do when I am coaching someone. I make sure we pick every little detail out of their conversations so they get maximum value from their networking. It’s astonishing how many little opportunities most people miss along the way that, if followed up, turn into actual business.