While conferences can be a fun experience (and another pin on your traveling map), they also provide education and networking opportunities for everyone involved. That being said, no matter if you’re new to the industry or if you’re nearing a decade (or more!) in well-seasoned knowledge, there’s something valuable for anyone that attends. On the same note, making new connections and professional relationships is part of the excitement of attending a conference, especially when it comes to potential clients or mutually beneficial creative partner contacts. So how can you ensure that these new relationships stay strong after they’re developed?
Strategy is key
Exchanging contact information is only the first step, and follow-up after the fact is also great. But think about the ways that you can be relevant to them without actually being face-to-face. If you have a blog or active social media for your company, consider cultivating that new relationship with some content to cross-promote to each other’s audiences. Both of you will benefit, plus you’ll leave an invaluable impression that you’re a loyal connection to have.
Generosity is something we always advocate for, whether that means a referral or an effort to ‘surprise and delight’ your creative partner. Handwritten thank-you notes go so far, trust us! The old saying about what you put out into the world will inevitably come back around is so true. Putting out those referrals means that you’ll likely see them in return, and you’ll want to make sure you credit the person that scored you that new client.
It’s really that simple. Even if the communication between the two of you isn’t necessarily time-sensitive, it’s still a nice gesture to respond to emails or other correspondence in a timely manner. Prioritizing the small things really do mean a lot in the long run. Our rule of thumb is generally responding within 24 hours of receipt.
To take it a step further, if you’re traveling in the area where your creative partner is located, make an effort to put in the face-to-face contact, even if it’s just grabbing some coffee. This lets them know that you care about continuing the relationship and want to check in on their successes.
There are plenty of ways to foster those long-lasting relationships after conferences, but keep in mind that it’s important that it comes across as organic and genuine. Be yourself, be consistent, and get creative – that is all you need to do!
Kevin Dennis is the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.