Have you ever noticed how people you haven’t talked with in years come out of the woodwork when they are looking for a job? They call it networking. I call it bad public relations.
Staying in touch with people is important throughout your career not just when you need help finding a new position. People who develop strong contacts will achieve more than those who reach out only when they need help.
If you want to have good contacts, you must be a good contact. Try to help the people on your list achieve their own personal and professional goals, and they in turn will be happy to help you.
Friend Brent Dees of the Focus Four entrepreneur coaching system teaches a concept called the Focus 40, based on the theory that you can only maintain 40 truly close business relationships. Dees says that you should identify the people who can do the most to assist you in reaching your personal and business goals and then find out what they are trying to achieve. Once you know this, your efforts should be directed toward helping them reach their goals. This is smart business and good public relations.
You’ll have other relationships besides your Focus 40, but you just won’t spend as much time trying to strengthen them. That’s not to say, you should ignore them.
With today’s technology there is no excuse for you not to keep up with people on your personal, professional and work-life lists. Plaxo is one web-based system that helps keep your contacts apprised of changes in your business and personal information. LinkedIn is another good way to develop and stay in touch with your expanded network.
And when someone does help you, say “Thank you" or even send a handwritten note of appreciation. Our society has neglected these seemingly small but powerful gestures. The bar is set low, so jumping it takes little effort but places you in high esteem among your contacts.
Harry Hoover is a partner in My Creative Team . He has 30 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Bank of Commerce, The Bray Law Firm, http://www.CruisingTheICW.com , Duke Energy, Focus Four, Jacobsen, Levolor, North Carolina Tourism, Rubbermaid, TeamHeidi, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX, and Verbatim.