It’s time for another Two for Tuesdays here in muggy New Jersey, and what better topic to discuss than conference follow up? We just wrapped up the ILN’s 26th Annual Meeting in Chicago, which was a whirlwind of business sessions and social activities designed to facilitate relationships. And we managed to squeeze a little fun in there too!
As with any conference, it can be easy to return to your office and in the chaos of catching up with work and getting back into your regular schedule, forget everything you learned at the conference. So especially for my ILN attorneys this week, I bring you two tips for conference follow up.
Tip One: Connect on LinkedIn
When you attend a conference, you either receive a pile of business cards, or an attendee list to draw from. As you get back to your office, take a look at the list or the cards – hopefully you made note of who you met, and a distinguishing characteristic of that person, but if you didn’t, take a couple of minutes to jot it down.
Then, head over to LinkedIn. Search for the people you talked to on LinkedIn, and send them an invitation to connect.
Don’t just send the standard invitation though – customize it with something that you talked about, something you remembered after you left, or even just a comment about the conference itself. It’s a way to keep the relationship going (especially when you post things to your profile, and keep up to date on what they’re doing in between conferences), and it creates an extra layer of awareness for you and your firm.
For me, this helps to keep the relationships going in between conferences, so that when you next see the person, instead of spending time catching up, you can pick up right where you left off.
Also, LinkedIn can be useful as a reminder of where people are located, so the next time you’re traveling to your new friend’s city on business, you can drop them a note to get together. Don’t just let your relationships linger after a conference – breathe life into them and keep them vibrant!
Tip Two: Send Photos
This is a favorite tip of mine. We all have a mobile phone with a camera these days, at the minimum, and we’re all snapping shots throughout our travels. Phones have pretty good resolution, so the photos that come from them are usually fairly decent.
Take a few minutes to upload your photos to your computer, and order a few prints from a service like Shutterfly or Snapfish, particularly any shots you have of your new (or old!) friends. Then, get a few notecards and send the photos along with a note about how much you enjoyed your time together. People love to see (good) pictures of themselves, and it will give them a warm and fuzzy feeling about your relationship, knowing that you took the time to write them a note and send them some photos.
It’s also likely that they’ll stick that photo on their desk (I know I would!) and it will remind them of you whenever they look at it. Maybe it will remind them to call you when they have a potential referral, because you’re right there looking at them, instead of just a name on a list of delegates.
Doing these types of things (sending photos, dropping a note, passing along an article that relates to a conversation you had, sending a book to someone that they’ll like) all helps in the relationship-building process, and are extra important when you’re talking about relationships with people around the world who you don’t regularly see.
So keep that post-conference high going with a few small gestures that can make a big difference! As always, we only mention two tips here (and there are many more!) so please add your tips for conference follow up in the comments below!