I went to a speed networking and luncheon event a couple of months back. As usual an enjoyable event, made lots of networking contacts many of whom were genuinely interested in marketing themselves, and communicating with me on a personal and professional level. I probably met 30 people in all and from that I have developed around four or five contacts whom I regard as colleagues. In some respects building a professional network is a numbers game, but how you go about it is what counts. To illustrate this point I got an E-mail week later which read along the lines of: "Dear Mark Lovely to be at the event with you, we will call you next week with regard to discussing your current widget requirements."
Yes in theory these people were at the networking forum with me, they were in the same room at a different table during lunch and our paths never crossed during speed networking. They got my name from the guest list and sent me an e-mail. What's my problem with that? I haven't got one, the e-mail was courteous and I'm sure the follow up phone call will be just as polite. The point I'm trying to make is that if you attend a professional networking event then make sure you understand what people are there for. For me its a question of nurturing contacts and developing professional relationships. For others it may well be a route to cold call lists. But if you are of the latter mindset, then beware not all people are sanguine about mail shots or calls from people with whom they only have a tenuous link. Their goals may not be the same as yours and they may see professional networking as an inappropriate tool for a follow -up and sale. In marketing your brand you may be failing to market yourself, and its for people rather than brands that referrals are usually given. If you want to sharpen your networking skills book your free meeting to get business networking now in Hull.