We come in contact with people all the time who have made the mistake of not staying in touch with their network. They’re busy with work and their personal lives and while they know it’s important, they just haven’t made the time to keep up with people. Then an event occurs (layoffs, a new boss they don’t like, etc.) and they need a favor from people in their network. If it’s been a long time since they’ve had contact, they feel awkward reaching out when they need something.
We all know the importance of keeping up with our network. The issue is how do you make time for it?
Here’s our “Take Five” on how to keep your network fresh and smiling:
Google Alerts – One of the easiest ways to stay in touch is to have an email that automatically shows up in your in-box, prompting you to reach out. Google Alerts allow you to enter the names of people or companies so that when there is anything newsworthy, you will know right away. That’s the perfect opportunity to email someone in your network congratulating them on a promotion or on their company’s good news.
Conferences – How many times have you attended a conference and bumped into someone you know? If it’s someone important to you, wouldn’t you have rather known ahead of time? Prior to your next event, send out an email to your network letting them know the conference you’re attending and the dates you’ll be there. This way, you can make arrangements beforehand to spend time with them while you’re both there. Doing this may also serve a dual purpose of alerting them to a conference they may not have known about and would like to attend.
Connecting People – In the business world you are coming across all kinds of people who may be a resource for you and people in your network. By letting them know about a new person/resource, you’re helping the new person and your contact and keeping your network fresh. The extra benefit of this one is that people will often reciprocate, advising you when they come into contact with a good resource.
Spread the Word – Let your network know when good things are happening: you get a new job; you’ve launched a new product; personal news like buying a new house, having a new child. Share other types of information that may be of interest to them. It could be industry specific, hobby specific or information that might be of general interest. People really appreciate this type of communication.
In Person – Nothing beats getting together in person. Whether it’s lunch, drinks after work or a cup of coffee, meeting in person strengthens the bond. Things come up in a face-to-face meeting that would never come up over the phone and even less likely via email. There is something about physical presence that sparks more meaningful conversation around multiple topics.
No matter how busy you are, any time you dedicate to energizing your network will be well worth it. Remember the old adage “It’s not what you know but who you know and how well you know them”. You’ve worked hard to establish your network, it just makes sense to stay current.
Copyright 2008 Whelan Stone. All rights reserved.