You’ll meet a lot of people when you travel. As mentioned in my last post, the best way to jog your memory is to jot down a few notes on their business card. Now it’s time to use that info!
Reconnecting with your contacts
LinkedIn is how I personally prefer to keep in touch with professional connections. It’s like having a summarized CV of your connections and it gives you more credibility by having your CV available.
When adding contacts to LinkedIn, try personalizing your intro message own using the notes from the business cards:
- If they mentioned they were taking a vacation, wish them a great trip.
- If they mentioned they were expecting a new grandchild, send your best wishes.
- If they mentioned that they were looking to do business in your area, offer them a coffee next time they are in town.
- If they had a lot to say about something, reference it in your message. This way they will know that you were actively listening and had a genuine interest in the conversation.
You get the gist of it. Remember to add contacts that you ACTUALLY met; don’t just blindly add people – it’s both annoying and unprofessional.
Send follow up messages
If you were traveling for meetings, remember to send a quick message when you return home thanking the people you met with for their time. If there were any action items from the meeting, this is a great opportunity to remind yourself and others of their responsibilities.
Take a moment to reflect.
I can’t stress this enough. Too often when you’re traveling for work you forget to take time to look back on how the trip went. Some things to keep in mind:
- meetings: were there any action items (things you need to do)?
- hotels / restaurants: how was the service? would you go back? Is it somewhere you could recommend to someone who might be travelling there?
- new thoughts: what did you learn? Was there anything new that you discovered that can be applied to your career?
- goals: what was the main purpose of your travel? Did you achieve your goals? Did you discover something that you should remember for a future opportunity?
Meet with your supervisor
If you were traveling on behalf of an organization, setup a time to meet with your supervisor to discuss the outcomes of your trip. This is where you can have an open conversation about what went well and what could be improved for the next trip. If you found that the travel was somewhat unnecessary, as in the trip didn’t provide as much value as originally thought, speak up. Your supervisor will appreciate your honesty and you can use this conversation as an opportunity to explore other more suitable options.
The people you meet when you travel – whether for work or for pleasure – can open doors, provide insights, and help influence your career path in many different ways. It’s important to foster a connection because you never know when you might be crossing paths later in life. These are connections that you can’t find at home, because what makes them special is that they are from a different part of the world. And as for the experiences you shared together … well… everyone loves a good story.