I like this article in the Wall Street Journal about networking. Both men and women often don’t network properly. Often men cruise the room, not making deep relationships, often women get talking to one person and stick to them for the whole session, so the WSJ has some good advice. i particularly like their follow up point:
7. Don’t forget to follow up.
"If you’re not following up, you’re not networking," says Ms. Zack. "You should stay in touch, without thinking about what you’ll get out of the relationship."
Within 48 hours of your first meeting, you should email a note that pinpoints the most important parts of your earlier conversation, so your contact remembers who you are specifically. A timely turnaround will show that you’re both interested and available to continue the conversation.
"Send them a link to a project you discussed, or ask them how the game they were going to that night ended up," advises Ms. Zack. "Give them something that is useful to them."
If I get a business card, I’ll always follow up later that week. I’ll make electronic contact with them so that my details can be stored on their contact system. It takes a few minutes of my time. if I get a response – then I transfer all of the contact details onto Outlook. if I don’t get a response – I’ll throw the business card away.
Following up is easy, maintaining the relationship takes some work, but will bear fruit later on. Like any relationship, networking takes work…
Working the room effectively could give you some great work in the future. All you need to do is do it properly