Last week, I shared about making more professional connections.
But once you’ve met new people, the whole idea of keeping in touch can fill you with a sense of dread, guilt or fear if you don’t have the right strategies in place.
1. Remember that you don’t need to keep in touch with everyone. It’s OK to sort through business cards at the end of a networking event and to decide who to follow up with for further discussion.
2. You don’t need to keep in touch with everyone on the same frequency. It’s good to have a few people that you connect with more regularly, but it’s fine to cultivate other relationships on a 3-, 6- or 12-month basis.
3. Use social media to your advantage by sharing news and reading updates without having to reach out to people on an individual basis.
4. Even if you don’t own a business, you may want to consider sending out a mass e-mail to people every 6 months to a year. These kind of contacts could include past employers, old school friends or people who you met at conferences. Add them immediately to a group e-mail list (once you have their permission of course!). Then put a reminder to send the e-mail in your calendar and/or have it correspond with a memory cue like the anniversary of your business or January 1 or your birthday.
5. For the people you want to connect with more often, consider setting up a recurring weekly phone call or lunch meeting so that spending time with them is naturally built into your schedule. If a recurring event won’t work, decide on your next meeting day and time at the end of each time you have together.
6. Typically mentors or advisers can best offer you support on a monthly or quarterly basis. For these individuals, I recommend setting up either a recurring event at the correct frequency or setting your next time to talk at the end of each conversation (do you notice a pattern? )
7. If you’re working on a particular type of project where you may need help or advice in the future, set up a place where you collect names and notes about individuals who could assist with that topic. I keep my list in a simple “People to Help with Book” Word document, but you can keep yours in any note taking tool.
8. When people tell you to reach out to them when you’re in their geographic area, add them to a list of people in a particular city or put a searchable location note or tag on their profile in your contact management system. That way when you plan a trip, you can quickly and easily know who you could potentially visit.
Here’s to keeping in touch–without stressing out!
To your brilliance!