When you get back from your next conference, you will almost certainly be doing so with a bundle of business cards in hand. If you have organised yourself properly, these will already be sorted and you will have a plan of action for each contact. However, you will still need to make that all-important follow-up call for them all!

If calling people isn't really your thing, then sorry! You are going to have to be on the phone a lot in the days - or even weeks - following a conference. However, the payoff is definitely worth it. Good follow-up work leads to a whole range of benefits for your business, so don't neglect it!

The first thing you need to remember while following up with contacts is to have a reason to call them. They will almost certainly be busy people who won't appreciate it if you call them for a chat with no real purpose!

You need to think of a reason to make contact. Perhaps you talked about the possibility of cooperating on a joint project, or coming to each other's companies to deliver training? If so, try organising this. If you have talked about nothing, take this opportunity to talk about what you can offer each other and try to work something out.

Remember to be professional and formal. If you made contact with someone at the conference's after-party, you will still need to be sensible on the phone. Don't greet them like you did when you'd both had a few drinks; they are probably a completely different person at work! It's best not to take any chances.

Above all, you must keep a good, detailed record of who you have contacted and what the outcome of each call was. You might be phoning up dozens of people in the aftermath of a conference, so it is all too easy to forget things. If you call the same person twice with the same request it is going to make you and your company look foolish!