You find yourself at a very well attended Holiday Party for a major law firm in your business community. In attendance are many of the top venture capitalists, accountants, bankers, and C-Level executives in town. You meet some great people and exchange business cards.
Luckily the food and drinks are free, because most people will only take with them memories of the shrimp and a bit of a hang over.
Why with so many important business professionals in attendance and all the "power networking" did nobody make any real connections with those who could make an influential impact?
Why? Because that was not networking. Meeting someone at a cocktail party does NOT make them part of your network. The real networking begins after the first meeting. True business friendships take time to develop and only happen if you make the effort to follow up with the other person.
Take a look at the stack of business cards you have collected the last few weeks while attending the many business holiday events (you did take advantage of the holiday networking, right?) and identify two people whom you would like to know better.
Plan on the best way to follow up with these folks. A note, an email, a phone call....you decide which is the next step and then do it. Do not wait for them to call you or you could be waiting for a long, long time.
If once a month you followed up with just one person and worked to construct a friendship, in a year you would have 12 new contacts.
Have a great day.