It's hard to stay connected with friends, colleagues, clients, and key people in your industry. Why? Because most positions force you to focus on production and not development. Get to work and don't worry about new connections. Here's three ways to gently sneak in a little contact to help your career health, grow your business, and ensure your success.
Strategic Lunches — Once a week, ensure that you schedule a lunch with someone outside of your current contact list (growth) or a critical, connected and key player within your contact list (retention). Not five lunches, just one. Also make sure that you keep it to one hour — so you will do it again and not fret about the 'waste of time' it might incur.
Morning Calls — Every day, pick one person from your contact list, and reach out to them via phone in the morning. Make it first thing, make it quick (no more than 5-10 minutes), and keep it enthusiastic. Focus on them - ask about their family, work, life — but the most important this is to get in and get out. Slowly, people will look forward to your call when they see your name appear on their phone. Result: Connect with 200+ people on your list every year.
Dinner Parties — Every three months, host a dinner party at your home. Here are the rules:
- Invite 3-4 couples. They should not know each other, but they do know you.
- Keep it casual. Tell them to dress down.
- Keep the food simple. Serve something where you spend no time in the kitchen once the guests arrive. Like chili.
- Keep the wine flowing. A glass or two always soften the party jitters.
- Use nametags. People forget names and it inhibits conversation. It sounds hokey, but it works.
- Have them bring a fun gift. Like their favorite CD from college. Then you can play it and talk about it (or make fun of it).
I've had more people come to me afterward and comment that these are the best parties they've ever attended. And I get business.
Just try one of these strategies and slowly see your contact circle grow that much more robust. Trust me.