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For seven days at BlackEnterprise.com, we offer seven steps to refreshing and recharging your network — weather you’re an introvert or extrovert — so you’ll attract the right people and start building long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. Building a community of people who support you does takes time, but there are strategic ways you can get started expanding your professional network today!
BOSS MOVE, DAY SIX: Perfect your follow-up skills after networking.
What’s the point of going to a networking event if you don’t follow-up with the people you meet? The goal of networking is to build a lasting relationship that can become reciprocal. Meeting people is only the first step in networking. By staying in touch, you’re showing they matter to you and ensuring top-of-mind awareness. I believe I’ve had so much success with building my own professional network because I am a firm believer in maintaining relationships. The fortune is in the follow-up.
ACTION: Make it a point to follow up with the people you meet as soon as possible. Call, e-mail or send a thank you card within 24 to 48 hours. You can also invite them out for coffee or lunch in the following weeks, and make sure you pick up the tab. Another way to follow-up is to help them with something they need or introduce them to someone they can benefit from.
Also, this is the perfect time to catch up with those in your network who you may not have been in touch with lately.
Cameka Smith is a speaker, educator, social entrepreneur and founder of The BOSS Network, a community of career and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online and via event-based networking. In addition, Smith provides resources for women entrepreneurs and professionals through workshops and speaking engagements. She is also a mentor and program facilitator for Project BOSS, which matches professionals with youth.