Whether it’s your first or seventeenth event, you’ve probably had a chance to chat with a few dozen interesting people in the industry or a product design Firm representative. Fellow innovators, marketing mavens, prospective investors, general gadget fans – each of these could have a lasting impact on your future product, or might just have some unique insights you’d want to keep around.
Except after you’ve met them, what’s the best way to keep in touch? We’ve put together a few simple and effective follow-up tactics to help you grow your network after a trade show or conference.
Don’t Wait Too Long To Reconnect
It’s probable you’ve only had one enlightening conversation with some of these new connections. In the context of a huge conference, that’s basically a drop in the bucket. If you reach out to them within a few days of meeting them, they’ll have a better recollection of that first meeting. As a product design firm, we always reach out to new contacts the next day to start developing that relationship.
Reference Key Parts of Your Conversation
If you’re not taking notes right after meeting someone for the first time at an industry event, you might want to start making it a habit. There’s a lot going on in any given day at a conference or trade show and you can’t expect yourself to remember all of it.
When you reach out to a connection after an event, always make a quick reference to something you discussed during your conversation. Again, it personalizes your interaction, making it easy for them to remember you. It also shows that you were engaged and listening during your chat, something a new acquaintance will appreciate. If you were chatting with a product design firm, reference your invention, or specific design concepts that were spoken about.
Keep Expectations at Bay
Maybe you’re looking for funding for the next iteration of your invention, or perhaps you’re interested in meeting with someone’s senior colleague, don’t expect too much from your new connections.
Start simple. Set up a face-to-face meeting after the event, get to know them a little bit better, continue the conversation you started. You should be thinking about your connections from a long-term perspective, and consider what you can do to help them meet their goals. Always remember that you’re building mutually beneficial relationships, not a toolbox.
At our product design firm, we’re always interested in meeting new innovators and learning about their ideas. If you’ve spotted us at an event recently and want to get in touch, don’t wait, reach out!
Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical Engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.
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