This past week, WWPR hosted a networking event, the Summer Social, at Local 16.The balcony was full with many opportunities to meet and reconnect with other local communications professionals. I left with a ton of business cards, and this got me thinking, cards are great, but if you don’t take that connection a step further, does it really mean anything? How can you use these types of events to truly grow your network and build relationships that go beyond a brief introduction?

Stephanie Block, Kendra Kojcsich, Allison Vennerberg and Rachel Krasnow

Barbara Gibson, ABC, 2008-2009 International Association of Business Communicators Chair, has some great Power Networking Tips, which include:

  • Work the room
  • Never get caught without your business cards
  • Jot down notes on the card about the person you just met
  • Maintain contact

I am usually very good about carrying my business cards, and I’m amazed when I meet new people who are attending a networking event without their cards. At the Summer Social, I overheard WWPR board member Margie Newman suggesting to an attendee to create personal cards for the sole purpose of networking. Tip: include your social media connections on your cards.

I made a concerted effort to follow-up with my new contacts. I am primarily using LinkedIn, because it allows me to stay connected even if my new contact or I change positions. When I send the invite to connect, I always let my contact know how we met.  I like that I will see my new connection’s updates on LinkedIn, so we will have more to talk about when we meet again.

PRSA-NCC’s PRONet Committee recently sponsored a Face to Face Meets Digital networking event. Stephanie Bostaph’s recap of the event includes tips from WWPR members Debra Silimeo, Margie Newman and Heather Huhman on breaking the ice with a good elevator speech and leaving the gadgets in your pocket or bag.

Hager Sharp posted another recap of the PRSA-NCC event on their blog.

How do you make the most of people you meet at networking events? Do you have any advice for the WWPR Blog readers?