The burning question after most any networking event is “Was that worthwhile?”
In reality; the answer is “Absolutely!”. After all, every event offers value. Some offer more immediate value than others. They all have value, however.
Track your results however you deem appropriate. Before you completely pass judgment on an event, however, remember that the benefits of any networking activity may not present themselves for weeks, months, or even year.
Networking events are wonderful. The conversations can be exhilarating. And the whole experience productive. Follow Up or Follow Through regarding whatever you promised to. If you pledged to reconnect, do so. If you offered to introduce them, make it happen. If you indicated you would send them something, get it sent.
Know this, so few people follow through on what they say they are going to do. That is a sad, but true fact. Given that, if you are committed to doing so, you immediately elevate yourself ahead of a significant portion of the networking population.
No doubt, interacting with others at networking events you are hopeful of getting things … clients, important contacts, and other information. Understand this: They are too. You can make an indelible impression on them by finding some way of helping them – even if only in a small way. So as they talk, run whatever they are saying through a filter that queries: “How can I add value to them?” This is the Golden Rule of Networking – Give first and get second.
There is nothing that says that you have to help them right there and now. If you can help them in that moment, great. If not, do not despair.
Just understand that you make the most of building that connection by trying to find some way you can add value to them later. It might be a referral. It might be a contact. It might be important information for them.