Has the life and energy gone out of your network?
Perhaps you’ve been busy and distracted, or maybe you’ve gone through a rough patch and have been ignoring your network. Whatever the reason for the fading fizzle, you can breathe new life into a dying network at any time. There’s multiple ways to go about it, too!
Whatever method you use, it’s up to you to inject the interest back into the relationship: Take ownership of the fade-out and admit you’ve lost touch; acknowledge their events or their value, make them feel noticed and appreciated. You can endorse their skills, congratulate them on the new job, new baby, or other big event, or invite them for coffee. Don’t forget to offer value to them, too. Networking is about give AND take.
- Work backwards from today. Start with the colleagues and hiring influencers you’ve been in touch with most recently. Use whatever format feels more comfortable, LinkedIn, Twitter, or face-to-face networking. Take it slowly and work your way back in time, job by job, school by school, and reconnect with whomever has the skills, connections, or interest in your industry.
- Triage your contacts. Who is an MVP? Who has mentor-potential? Who is a hiring influencer? Who is a colleague within your industry? Who is a friend? Who is an acquaintance? However you divide them up, contact one group at a time, and revitalize the connections with that group before moving on to the next group.
- Divide by arbitrary designations. Alphabetically, by zodiac sign, or by phone number, or where they appear in your rolodex, it doesn’t matter, pick a group and start communicating.
Once you get started, schedule a time every day to reach out to a certain number of contacts. This ensures that you make networking part of your routine, stay engaged in the process of re-animating your connections, and give you the minimum benchmark to meet every day. You can always do more, but don’t allow yourself to do less. Networking is one of the most important levers in your career toolbox!