While we’re all creeping out of our SXSW recovery period, we wanted to touch on a topic that’s super relevant after any big industry shebang: creating and (more importantly) maintaining industry connections. It’s SO easy to meet a bunch of people, say “hey we should meet up soon” and then turn around and forget that person’s name. Unfortunately, this is a wide spread industry problem, so if you are counting on the other person to be the one to remember - DON’T. Luckily, we've got some easy, common sense tips to help ya!
Seven ways to create and maintain industry connections:
Exchange business cards or contact info at your first encounter! So you’re having a great conversation with someone you randomly bumped into -- don’t say, “I’ll find you on Facebook” -- GET THAT CONTACT NOW. You never know if they aren’t super accessible through social media or if their website lists an info email address that’s rarely checked. My personal facebook is under a totally different name and is private! For our business cards, we love Moo.com! (they even did a cool little write up on us)
Get in contact the next day via email or text. Do not wait and give them time to forget you. Keep it short and sweet. “Hey, it was great chatting with you at that show - let’s connect soon!”
Set up a meeting within a week. Personal connections are always more valuable than internet ones. Grab coffee or a beer - something that won’t take too long. Even if there isn’t a way to directly work together right now, it’s great to establish a face to face rapport.
Learn a little about them. Obviously you want to meet up to get to know them and what they do better, but it’s always great to have a starting point -- “I saw you worked on that event with Third Man. That’s so cool; what did you do for them exactly?”
Don’t expect them to just give you something or work with you because they met you once. A HUGE pet peeve of mine is when I meet someone one time and then they ask for my entire contact list. I’m down to help people out when I know they are legit, but just it becomes really clear really quickly when people are just using you to get to someone else. That said…
Be helpful and valuable. You have worth, skills, and connections! If you’re asking for something, be prepared to help out where they might need it also.
Just chill. Realize that not all contacts are going to turn into business deals. I honestly have a group of managers that I meet up with from time to time just to vent. There really isn’t a great way for us to work together, but we learn from each other and our separate experiences. Those are so important and can keep you sane.
Once you’ve established a good connection with someone, keep it up! Grab coffee every once in a while - just shoot the shit. This world is full of crazy twists and turns and friends always like to help friends out.