Have you ever had the experience of not talking to a colleague, coworker, vendor or customer for months or even years, only to have an email pop up in your inbox asking to use you as a reference, wanting to sell you something, or asking you to collaborate on a project or a business opportunity?
Perhaps you have lost touch with a personal friend yourself and hear of something happening in their life and want to reach out, but are afraid of how the message may be received after all this time.
If these scenarios sound all too familiar, you are not alone. In the fast pace of today’s world, it can be easy for days to turn into weeks, months, and years before you realize you have lost touch. On the other hand, people are busy and constant communication through social media, email, phone calls or in-person meetings can also be unwelcome if it goes beyond a certain level.
The key is in finding that perfect balance. It is in making the follow-up and staying in touch natural and authentic and avoiding the sales pitch, the guilt, or the demanding tone that can occur in both personal and professional attempts to stay in touch.
The Natural Follow Up – Professional
Getting into the habit of sending a follow-up email or social media message is a positive habit to develop. This follow up can be a thank you note or message, some additional information that is related to the conversation you had with the person or perhaps a request to meet again to share ideas further, collaborate, or discuss a particular issue.
Make the message personal and create a connection. Avoid using a copy and paste template that is impersonal and generic. Invite the other professional to stay in touch and provide your social media information as well as other ways to stay connected.
It is helpful if you review some of their writings, social media posts or podcasts and bring them into the message as well. This demonstrates an interest and appreciation in the other person, which is always flattering for the receiver to see.
Staying in Touch – Personal
For friends, acquaintances, old colleagues or even family members, a quick note, email, or social media post can help to stay in touch or to reconnect. This communication can be timed around a holiday, birthday, anniversary a special event you experienced together or perhaps something in the news or online that made you think of the individual.
These messages don’t have to be long, and they shouldn’t be lists of all the new things in your life. Keep the messages short and focused on building or rebuilding the relationship, and invite the other person to share his or her information, follow or friend your personal page on social media sites or give you a call.
While it can be uncomfortable in reaching out, it can also be a very positive experience. Reconnecting on personal and professional levels is good for our sense of well-being, and it is also good for those around us as well.