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  Networking sessions are about connecting with other business professionals, sharing thoughts and experiences about careers or entrepreneurship, and lighting the fire of potential professional relationships. They are not just about exchanging business cards. But those cards can help you achieve a lot more with networking events at the end of the day.
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In light of this, you’re better off putting the business cards you collect at sessions to work than just pilling them up at some obscure corner of your office. Here are four things you can do to get the most out of them:

Reach Out Via a Call or Email

Ideally, you should be calling up the people you meet at networking events—or firing off an email to them –if they’ve struck you as potentially valuable contacts. You may do this within 48 hours of getting their business cards if you’re going to successfully appeal to their memory of the conversation they had with you. Express your appreciation for the meeting with them, refer to a bit of your discussion with them that you found interesting, and express your hope to stay in touch. They will respond positively if they want to keep the lines open too.

Connect on LinkedIn

As the principal online social space for businesspeople, LinkedIn offers opportunities for connecting with potential clients, partners and investors. Consequently, it’s only reasonable that you try to link up with the people you’ve met at networking events on this platform. When you send a request to connect, remind them via a direct message of that meeting. And if your request is accepted, consistently engage them by offering smart and helpful responses to their posts. After a while, you should begin to build a decent rapport with them there.
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Introduce them to Useful Contacts

You may want your business cards to generate leads for you. But they won’t always do so in a direct manner. Why not try helping their owners by introducing them to persons with whom they could build valuable relationships? They will very likely be grateful for this. This could in turn make them more open to communicating with you—and your chances of benefiting from this will increase as well.

Add them to Your Email List

Consider adding emails from the business cards you’ve collected to your newsletter’s email list. This makes sense if their owners fit the profile of a possible prospect. But only do this with their permission; you don’t want to start off your relationship with them by offending them with content that they aren’t interested in.
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Final Words: Finding the Right Networking Event is Half the Task

Little as they are, business cards can be catalysts for fruitful and long-lasting professional bonds—if you use them the right way. But getting these cards from high-value founders, professionals and executives is really half the task. You can find quality contacts by attending the Connect Nigeria Business Mixer. It’s the premier networking event for forward-looking entrepreneurs and stakeholders from across various industries in Lagos. Interested in attending? The next edition of the Connect Nigeria Business Mixer takes place on Friday, 31st March 2023. To find out more, call 08098005000. Featured Image Source: iStock
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This article was first published on 18th February 2023 and updated on February 20th, 2023 at 9:08 am


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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