Extend Your HOWLive: 3 Simple Networking Follow Up Actions

International Design Awards


Where is that stack of business cards from the people you met at HOW Design Live in Atlanta?

  • Buried under a pile on your desk?
  • In the pocket of the pants you were wearing in Atlanta? (I hope it didn’t go through the laundry.)
  • In the HOWLive swag bag (reg bag)?

Go get those business cards right now and take these 3 simple follow up actions. (If you already did some follow up, make sure you took all 3 actions.)

But first, know this: It’s never too late to follow up.

It’s only been a few months since HOWLive in Atlanta, so that is definitely not too late.

Besides, the longer you wait, the more creative you’ll need to be to remind them who you are. But that’s ok. You’re a designer, so I know you won’t let that stop you.

And don’t forget all those people who “friended” you on the HOWLive app—which is still active, by the way, so don’t delete it. (In fact, watch the app for updates about HOWLive 2017, coming up May 2-6, 2017 in Chicago.)

3 Simple Networking Follow Up Actions

Before you start the follow up, prioritize your contacts into 2 or 3 (at the most) categories, according to how much potential you feel there is for helping each other, working together or just being friends. Start with your top priority list and do this:

1. Invite them to connect on LinkedIn.

While you’re there, take a moment to review their profile and learn a bit about where they’ve been and what they’ve done. That info will come in handy when you…

2. Send a friendly email.

It doesn’t take long to write a simple email. This is a good opportunity to reference what you learned from their LinkedIn Profile. Look for common interests, employers or clients, academic institutions or even favorite sports team. At the very least, you can ask if they’re planning to go back to HOWLive next year in Chicago.

3. Make your own HOWLive “list” on Twitter.

Create a “list” on your Twitter stream to follow those you met at HOW so you can keep track of what they’re doing and retweet them for good will. (If you don’t know how, watch my short video to learn.)

For your highest priority category, including speakers whose presentations you enjoyed and learned from, go one step further and write a handwritten note. Taking the time to do this makes you stand out. Andrea Nierenberg, author of 7 books on networking, calls it the 47-cent investment plan—that’s currently the price of a stamp. (Read more of her networking tips here.)

Here’s another tip from Nierenberg:

If a contact of yours provided you with a referral or strategic introduction, be ready to tell them about your follow-up and results. Let people know what happened. Keep them in the loop with next steps and a sincere thank you for the connection and introduction. Referrals are the key to many new and successful opportunities. Always thank and keep the “Referrer” in the know about how they contributed to your success.

“Networking doesn’t work.” If a sneaky voice creeps into your head telling you nothing will come of your follow up, here’s a real life example to “shut that monkey,” as HOWLive speaker, Danny Gregory, writes in his book, Shut Your Monkey: How to Control Your Inner Critic and Get More Done.

After HOWLive in 2015, veteran attendee, Tiffany Butler of Whole Brain Creative, followed up via LinkedIn with a contact she had had a five-minute face-to-face conversation with. Thanks to that simple effort, that contact become a new client who spends five figures annually with her. “Had I not taken those few minutes to connect,” says Tiffany, “I likely would have ended up as just another business card at the bottom of his computer bag.” (For more networking tips from Tiffany, read her social media checklist here.)IliseHDL16

Ilise Benun at HOWLive 2016

Networking Prep for 2017

That’s not all. Watch as post conference networking and follow up from 2016 smoothly becomes pre-conference networking for 2017. Here’s how:

  1. Follow @HOWDesign_Live and #HOWLive to stay on top of what’s happening.
  2. Check out the new speakers in advance, through interviews on the HOW Design Live podcasts and on the web site (when it goes live).
  3. Follow past and future HOWLive speakers on your favorite social media to grow your network and theirs.

Remember, if you want control over your career, you must be building your network year-round. You never know when you will need it. And HOWLive is the ideal resource to do so.

Save the date for HOW Design Live 2017! We’ll be back in Chicago on May 2-6!
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