Re-Networking: An Unusual, But Significant, Career Investment

Photo by Anne Peterson.

Photo by Anne Peterson.

How many of you have To Do Lists after attending a conference or other event? Any fellow list-makers out there? I know, totally nerdy, but you probably have a list in your mind whether you realize it or not.

My first two steps are fairly common, and you could probably guess them:

1.    Take action on what you learned.

2.    Follow-up with the people you met.

However, my third step is my secret sauce:

3.    Share relevant information with your existing network, such as friends, family, colleagues, and clients.

Hopefully, you return from every event you attend with a handful of new connections, whether they be professional or personal. Those relationships are what can turn a good conference into a great one, and keep you coming back year-after-year.

But it’s easy to get entrenched in new information and contacts, forgetting that what you learned may also be valuable to those you already know. I’m not talking about implementing a new business strategy based on what you learned that will affect yourself, your staff, customers, donors, or clients. Rather, I’m speaking of an opportunity for an individual touch point that will deepen relationships you already have.

Think of it as “re-networking.”

The “How”

I attend at least half a dozen conferences and events each year. (I’m a bit of an information junkie.) And when I return, I spend an hour or so in my notes and notebook asking myself, “Who do I know that might also benefit from what I learned, saw, or heard?”

Here are some recent instances following my time at the Tribe Conference to illustrate:

·      I used to be an Event Marketing Director, so I sent my old co-workers some of the speaker names and sponsors that might be a good fit for their upcoming events.

·      I emailed the link to a resource that was promoted on stage to a woman I recently met who is interested in my marketing and consulting services.

·      I shared my notes with a friend who couldn’t attend because I knew the information was perfect for growing her audience as an author.

The “Why”

You may be thinking that this sounds like a lot of extra work. You are busy people, so I totally get it. But outside of being a nice human, it does have other rewards.

Referencing the examples above:

·      My old workplace is a current client, and this was another way to keep me top-of-mind for upcoming projects.

·      The woman I met with didn’t need my help immediately, but she was thrilled to hear about this resource, and it gave us another reason to keep in touch. She is now hoping to hire me for a project early next year.

·      The friend I mentioned is also a client, and in our last consulting session, she noted that one of the reasons she hired me is because I am always sending her valuable information that will help her grow her nonprofit.

In fact, I have a couple of friends that always want to get together after I’ve attended an event because they feel like they’re attending by osmosis! So, as you can see, this is just another way you can prove yourself invaluable to those around you.

Absolutely act on what you learned at an event. And be sure to follow up with everyone that you met. But, next time, try taking it a step further. Use your time at the event as an opportunity to reconnect with other important people in your life. Who knows, it may just allow you to take the next step in your career.


I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing, and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations are the future of business. They're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help them get noticed and grow. When they succeed, we all win.