“Network is a noun, not a verb”
With the bustle of meetings, events and client commitments for the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE), October is always a busy month. From attending meetings, to organizing booths and events and trying to fit in a session, FNCE is a whirlwind weekend of food, networking, and learning (but let’s be real, it’s mostly about the food). However, no matter how busy I am I always walk away with at least one new great connection. In fact, every year I’ve attended FNCE I have made an acquaintance that has turned into a great friend.
My approach may be different from most: instead of thinking of “network” as a verb, think of it as a noun. While taking action to meet new people by “networking” may help you collect more business cards, walking into an event with the goal of building your network will have a more profound outcome. And while making contacts is important, it’s what happens after the event that counts: nurturing your network.
So how do you nurture your network? Below are tips for keeping your connections strong:
Follow up. Following up with contacts after an event is key, even if it’s a quick hello to say thanks for having a great conversation. A tailored email referring to your discussion is always a nice touch in our now social-dependent communication culture.
Strengthen through social. Though some may hate to admit it, social media has made it easier to stay connected no matter your location. Follow, like and engage with your connections over social to continue developing your relationships from afar.
Meeting of the minds: masterminds! Do you have a mastermind group? If not, you should create one! If you’ve connected with someone over a business topic or similar goals then consider making it formal and creating a regular mastermind meeting. Give advice, push one another and create a sounding board for your best (and worst) ideas.
Hopefully you are inspired to cultivate great connections and build your nutrition network!
Kristina Todini, RDN
NEDPG Director of Communications