It happens to all of us … from crazy schedules and busy family dynamics to relocations and career changes, there are many factors that lead us to lose touch with our professional contacts.
While it may seem like a lost cause to reconnect, this simply is not true. Here are a few ways to reach back out to your professional contacts.
1. Use Social Media
Social media is an excellent way to get back in touch with your old colleagues. LinkedIn is a professional network of connections, so this type of communication is welcome and accepted. Send a brief message to outline how you know them, what you have been up to, and a reason why you'd like to reconnect. For Twitter, give past contacts a reason to follow you, then retweet or reply to a posting to get their attention.
2. Acknowledge milestones
If you notice that a past professional contact has won an award, is having a work anniversary, or has recently been promoted, use these as opportunities to congratulate them and reconnect. These events are excellent ways for getting updated on their career moves and aspirations.
3. Be honest
Send an email or LinkedIn message that starts out with “It’s been a long time.” This acknowledges the lapse of time and embraces the awkwardness head-on. Depending on your past relationship, you may want to connect the length of time with a significant event that has gone on in your life, such as a marriage, birth or relocation.
4. Enlist mutual friends
Lean on a common connection to reintroduce yourself with a past professional colleague. Explain how you know the person and inquire about how close they are. If they feel comfortable and willing to help, ask if they would reach out to the person to re-introduce you.
5. Share something of value
Find something valuable to share. For example, can you connect them with a potential client or candidate? Do you have an article that would benefit them? If yes, this is a great ice breaker and a good way to show you are genuinely interested and thinking about them.
It is common to fall out of contact with co-workers, past bosses and professional contacts. The important thing is to approach the situation with a positive tone, to acknowledge that time has passed, and then to request a meeting, or a promise to reconnect.
If you have any questions about how you can get back in touch with your network, send us a note firstname.lastname@example.org.
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