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Are you a ‘discerning’ networker? My reflections from a recent seminar on networking

I recently attended a seminar about networking that really made me reflect on how I have been approaching this important activity in business. I attend a lot of functions and consider that I’m quite an effective networker but am I a ‘discerning’ networker? This was a description used in the seminar.

 That question has really made me re-think some of the ways that I approach networking.

When I decide to attend an event or function, I realise that I need to think more carefully about the ‘purpose’ or ‘why’ behind attending that particular event. Usually I attend because I’m interested in the speaker or the topic and my primary driver is to learn, whereas my secondary driver is to network. What I have now realised is that I may need to be more ‘discerning’ about which events I do decide to attend, based on who is likely to be attending and if those people are the target audience I would like to meet as part of my networking activities.

The seminar was also a timely reminder about what tends to happen to the myriad of business cards that people collect when they network… usually they sit in someone’s drawer, never to be looked at again! A more constructive and productive approach is to have a plan after an event to identify which of the new contacts are appropriate to follow up and then schedule a time to do exactly that. Otherwise it will never happen.

What do you do with the business cards of new people whom you meet at events?