This is why adopting the mentoring and networking lifestyle is so important. Staying connected is hard work but less uncomfortable later. No worries. There are a host of strategies to ease your pain.
Before you go off and reconnect with all previously known humans--get your act together, do a little homework. Be prepared to articulate what you are looking for and what help you can provide. Remind yourself that reconnecting with "old" friends will be fun--even if you have an agenda. It will fill a small whole you have in your heart and in you mind and that will fill good. The more this feels like a chore the more tedious and anxiety ridden the process will be.
Once you are ready and you have a list of "old friends, take the following easy steps:
- Google them. Find out what you can through available resources. You may snag their contact info. It will also give you the background on them so you do not sound so out of touch when you connect. BTW, you should Google everyone you meet with!
- Talk to mutual friends. Do some investigation through mutual contacts to understand how your lost contact is doing. He/she may be worse off than you!
- Contact them. Pick up the phone, bang out an e-mail, just re-establish a connection as directly as you can. Meet face to face if possible. The closer you were to this person, the easier it will be to start over. 95% of the time the other person feels guilty too and they will be thrilled to hear from you. Just apologize for the time that has elapsed and reconnect. The point here is make the connection!
The more specific you can be with your request the better.
- I am getting close to a couple of offers, will you be one of my references?
- Just wanted to let you what I have been up to and to see if I can count on you as a reference.
- I am in the running for a few positions, I was wondering if you know anyone at ABC, XYZ or 123 companies?
- I am trying to make a career shift and I'd like to meet someone in the XXXXX field. Do you still know so and so or someone at XYZ company?
Make sure you update them on your qualifications and your recent professional experience. Don't assume they still know you and know what to say.One easy strategy is to establish or invest time in the social networking sites. Facebook, Linkedin and many others are fantastic ways for you to reconnect effortlessly. Some of you think you are too old to have a facebook, think again. Linkedin is a bit more serious and less fluffy site. Nevertheless, sign-up, register and input some basic info and you are off to the races. Once you have a facebook and or Linkedin pages, you can connect to groups and look up people. Then you will have people trying to connect with you! You are always in control to confirm these requests. Investing time on these sites to nurture your network is time well spent. Once you find a few folks you can read their bios and what they are posting. And you can see the connections they have! This gives you a head start on the reconnecting process.
The big question is : Why do we let some people slip into obscurity? I am not talking about people you had to work with or people you need for references. I am talking about those great friends and confidantes with whom you shared your personal stories and dreams. Make the time and effort to re-establish these relationships and I guarantee you they will bring you joy, new perspectives, and new opportunities.
A key premise of mentoring and networking lifestyle is start with your EXISTING network! reconnecting is so much easier than establishing new relationships.
The question is not how to reconnect as much as when. And the time is now!
Thanks for reading. John