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A system for following up after conferences  

Good follow-up discipline is an essential business skill. Relationships are crucial to almost every business out there, and if you don't follow up effectively, you miss out on a lot of potentially extremely helpful relationships.

We've covered the topic before, but it's good to get different points of view and approaches.

Alex Moore proposes a systematic approach to following up:

  1. Have a canned message for the conference.
  2. Sort the business cards you collected into VIP, Useful, Marginal, and Unhelpful.
  3. Follow up on the VIPs first, heavily customising the canned message to personalise it more and include something that you want to ask them. Set yourself a reminder to follow up again 4 days later.
  4. Go through the Useful cards, and do more or less the same thing, but without always asking for something explicit.
  5. If you have time, go through the Marginal cards.
  6. Throw out the Unhelpful cards. Decline invitations to have coffee (harsh, but helpful if you're very busy).
  7. After 4 days, follow up again on the VIPs who didn't get back to you.

Alex also proposes some tools, like Boomerang (Outlook-only) or CardMunch to help with these tasks.

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