What to do after conferences? - Business networking and beyond

There you are, feeling like a newborn baby right after an epic conference. Perhaps you have met the one investor you always dreamed of. Or maybe it was an inspiring speaker who raised a brilliant point about the meaning of entrepreneurialism. Regardless what it was that stuck with you, these learning lessons and new acquaintances have shaken up your world. You will never be the same, you are pondering to yourself. But too often this is not the case.  

Sooner than you realise it is Monday morning again and you are slapped in the face by reality. Instead of smiles, you are greeted back to the office by 287 unread emails and busy colleagues desperately trying to grab your attention. Due to all the hustle and bustle, the bubble of the conference is burst. Having gone back to your mundane life, the conference seems like a distant dream. Rapidly you forget the learning lessons and your new acquaintances. And you are committing a networking crime right there.

Imagine warming up a house for hours - using tons of wood and dedicating your time around the ember, hoping it to create a spark of fire. Then you have finally warmed up the house and it is starting to feel warm and cozy inside. After making all this effort would it make sense for you to you stop stacking more wood in and decide just to leave the house? Of course not - but this is exactly what happens to most people after conferences. Having invested a massive amount of time and money to attend a conference, it is enormous waste not to consider your life after the conference. What if I could maximize your ROI by giving you a few tips on how to leverage your business network? Keep reading to get everything out of business conferences by ensuring that the acquired knowledge and new contacts will stuck with you.

1. Master a follow-up

Networking being a key factor determining your startup’s success, your connections matter to a great extent. Having met a great amount of valuable contacts, it is vital to keep in touch with them afterwards. Thus it is worth your time to go through all the business cards you have received and at least add the people in LinkedIn. Even better is to shoot them an email, especially if it is a hot lead you have in your hands. Having warmed up the house, now it is the perfect time to close the deal. Thank them for your discussion, quickly summarize the key points of your chat and suggest an action step in the form of meeting or a call. Make the message as personalized as possible by referring to the points you discussed during the conference. Having already had a personal connection with them, your work will be much easier. Also do not forget about the new friends you made. After all networking is about genuinely getting to know people with shared interests. You never know who ends up making it happen for your startup.

2. Share your knowledge with the team

Having acquired new valuable knowledge, you should share it with your colleagues to give the team new wings. This will not only help in the distribution of the knowledge but also assure that the information with stick with you. Studies show that teaching someone else contributes to your learning in  a significant way. Going through again your conference notes again and discussing them with your team will give you new insights. Ideally you could create a visual PowerPoint presentation. Let the team read, see, hear and talk about the topic to maximize learning. Sharing this presentation with them will also assure them that sending you to this conference was valuable, assuring that you will be sent out next year as well.

3. Take up new beneficial habits

Learning new things is fun but actually talking up new habits takes up a lot of effort. First write down your takeaway lessons. Then continue with setting up goals. Set up goals that are ambitious, meaning that they are difficult to achieve but still feasible. Make your goals as concrete as possible so that you can measure your success. Also write your action steps - how you will achieve the goal. Reaching a milestone will keep you focused throughout the process. To boost your confidence, visualize you reaching the goal. The more vividly you can do this part, the better. It is been founded that a mental muscle training is nearly as effective as an actual workout. By both training and doing visualization is even more effective. Pretty impressive, uh?

4. Demonstrate your trustworthiness as a business partner

Have you promised to get back to someone about a deal or a book recommendation? Keep your word. Taking a habit of keeping your promises will increase your charisma. Since reputation is built from small blocks, being known as someone who does not make false promises impresses your business partners. People like to work with others who they can fully trust in and rely on. Therefore no matter how small the promise seemed, be the (wo)man behind your words. The sooner you get back, the better. After promising something, write it down it to your to do - list.

5. Get in touch with new influencers

Maybe there was that one person that you were dying to meet but did not have a chance? No worries. You can still contact them via LinkedIn or email (tip: usually people’s email addresses are simple to guess, firstname dot lastname @ company.com being one of the most common combinations). In the case of Arctic15 we choose speakers that are there also for networking purposes since small and cozy is the nature of our conferences. Therefore do not feel shy contacting even our speakers. Even as small thing as sending a ‘thank you’ note can put a gigantic smile on their face. Spread the happiness.

6. Provide feedback to the organizer

The organizer having put an enormous work into the conference, they would love to hear your feedback. Only that way they can improve the experience. What was it that you absolutely loved about the conference? Was there something that you noticed that was overlooked? Please send your feedback to info@arcticstartup.com We want to continuously improve our event, therefore we really appreciate all your output. And there is icing on the cake - the best improvement idea will receive a free ticket to next year's’ Arctic15.

Having already had a week to recover after the conference, now it is the perfect time to take action and start executing. Keep your contacts warm. Share the new knowledge with the team. Take up new habits by setting up goals. Stand behind your words by keeping your promise. Get in touch with the speakers and other figures whom you did not have a chance to talk to yet. And last but not least, send your feedback to the organizer. They will really appreciate it.

Conferences aside, is there also something else us Arctic15 organizer team ArcticStartup can help you with? Our mission is to create communities with uncapped opportunities. Regardless whether you are a startup, a corporation, an investor or other kind of body whom shares an enthusiasm towards the startup world, feel free to contact us. We are always open for collaborations.

Alisa Knuutinen