Reconnecting with an old friend or business contact can often lead to amazing opportunities.
I have established this week as "International Reconnect With An Old Friend Week" (May 4 - 8, 2009).
Everyday this week you are encouraged to think of an old friend, boss, co-worker, teacher, neighbor, mentor, student, etc... and find them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc...
Once you have located them reach out and say "Hello". This can be done by email, DM, a handwritten note, or telephone. Just do it.
Tell them that they were once an important part of your life and that you miss them. Ask them to tell you all about their current job, family, hobbies, travels, etc... Do not lead with a story about yourself, make the whole conversation about them! Be clear that your motivation is just to reconnect and see what happens.
Come back and share your comments on this blog.
When many think of "networking" they mistakenly believe that it is just about making new connections. Mental images of happy hours with stacks of business cards in one hand and cheap beer in the other hand - all while trying to make small talk with strangers in hopes of finding new business clouds the definition of what it is to network.
Meeting new people and establishing mutually beneficial relationships is part of the deal (cheap beer is not!). However, it is not just about farming for new connections. To be successful in business you MUST cultivate ongoing relationships. People do business with those they know, like and trust. It takes time establish real bonds. It is faster to get to the deep levels of understanding and trust with old contacts than it is with strangers!
In our busy world it is easy to lose touch with those who have been important in the past. But reaching out to an old friend can be very rewarding. If you wait until you need their help, then you might be viewed as insincere or a "taker"... but to reach out just because you like them and miss having them in your life will fill them with joy.
Have A Great Day.