7

I often meet people at conferences who are really interesting and do similar work at companies as I do in grad school.

Ideally I wish to have them as a part of my network to facilitate job search st the end of my graduation but I am unable to think of ways to keep in touch with them.

I usually send an email a day or two after the conference thanking them and summarising what we spoke about but I don't know how to maintain these contacts

4

After sending the initial email, I add my new contacts to a self-maintained database. A simple Excel sheet with Name, Email/Phone and a few notes about where I met them and what we talked about.

I find that a good way to keep in touch without demanding a conversation is to send them interesting articles/papers/blogposts that touch on their field or a topic you discussed when you first met. This is better than emailing "Just wanted to say hi". It gives them a basis of response, even if it is just, "interesting, thanks". I also forward any job or other opportunities that are emailed to me.

Of course, don't be too spammy. Make sure it is something the recipient would be happy to receive.

  • That's perfect! I was just thinking of maintaining an excel sheet myself. – user186 Jul 10 '12 at 13:44
10

LinkedIn is an excellent way to establish and maintain those links for the future. It also lets you see their contacts so you can see the types of professions they deal with or have dealt with during their careers.

If they are keeping their LinkedIn account updated, you will also be able to keep up with them if they change companies or work locations. They might no send you an email if this changes, and then the connection is lost.

The short email post-conference can be sent as part of the LinkedIn invite to them.

  • In academia, we don't use LinkedIn much. Interesting point though. – user186 Jul 5 '12 at 11:18
  • 3
    @inquest my linkedin account is full of academic contacts from conferences, from the last few years. It certainly doesn't hurt to try. – jcmeloni Jul 5 '12 at 17:00
1
  • Add People on LinkedIn: It’s funny that we still carry business cards around in a day and age when everything we do is so digitally driven. Hopefully there will be a point at which we can do all of this with the push of a button. LinkedIn is probably one of the most underrated tools at any professionals disposal. By adding your new contacts on LinkedIn your professional network will expand and you simply never know what kinds of opportunities will arise. I recommend participating in at least one discussion a week on LinkedIn Group because that will increase your social footprint as well. When you participate in LinkedIn Groups, don’t just do it to sell your services or your company. Make sure you add value.

  • Follow Them on Twitter: This is a pretty obvious one, but the sooner you do it the better since you don’t want people to fall of your radar. Twitter more or less guarantees that your new contacts will be on your radar on a daily basis. You probably had many discussions via Twitter with most of them during the conference, so identifying them won’t be too hard.

  • Create a Twitter List: You might be tempted to just use the hash tag from the conference and follow everybody on that hash tag. While this might work well for a smaller event, for events like Blog world and South by Southwest this will a bit of disaster to sort through. I’d make a list and label it “my conference name tweeps” or something like that. If you find you’re conversing with them daily, make them part of your 150.

  • Send them an Email: In an age where we communicate through Facebook updates, tweets, and very short snippets, sending an email can actually make you stand out. I think that you should send an email regardless of whether you have any business related things to talk about because it’s more genuine. Don’t be the person who reaches out to people just when you need something. Take time to develop a real relationship with people.

  • Subscribe to their Blogs: This is kind of a bonus for the bloggers out there. If somebody has a blog, subscribing to their blog is a great way to keep up with what they’re really up to and to help them grow their brand.

  • Do it Sooner Than Later: This is one last idea I wanted to share. The sooner you go through this process, the more likely you’ll be able to provide value and gain value from the new contacts you made. In the end the more you focus on the creation of value, the more you’ll get out of everything you do online.

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