How to Reach Out to Old Networking Contacts

A lot of us live busy lives and it’s easy to lose touch with networking contacts; however you never know when you may want to call upon them so it’s important to maintain these ties. So how can you go about getting back in touch with these individuals?

When reaching out to an old contact you don’t want them to think you have an agenda, so it’s important that you make them feel valued and show genuine interest in them.

Here are a few pointers for rebuilding a professional relationship.

1) Show interest in the individual

If you launch straight in and ask somebody for something after not speaking to them for years, they’re likely to feel a bit put out. Your initial focus should be on reestablishing your relationship with them. Ask them how they are, what they’re doing these days and listen to what they have to say. By arranging to catch up with them properly over lunch or coffee and showing genuine interest in them, they are probably more inclined to want to help you out when you ask.

2) Maintain a social media presence

When you initially make a business contact it’s always a good idea to connect with them on social media, as it makes getting back in touch a bit easier when you’ve been visible in each other’s online networks. By posting frequent updates you can keep yourself on the radar of your business contacts, so they are familiar with who you are when you make contact. You can also bring yourself to an individuals attention by engaging on their social media updates.

3) Be professional

If you have merely a professional relationship with the individual try not to act too ‘pally’ when you make contact. It’s good to be friendly, but going overboard make come across as false and they may become suspicious about what you are after.

4) Remind them how you know each other

If it’s possible that they may not remember how the two of you met, provide them with a little reminder in your initial message. Rather than outright suggesting that they probably will have forgotten you, just give mention to how you met, for example a project you worked on, or event you attended to remind them of the details of your relationship.

5) Be specific about what you want

When it requesting something of an old contact, don’t beat around the bush. If you are specific about what you are asking they are then able to make an accurate judgement about whether they are able to help you out and you will come across as more genuine if you’re honest and open about what you’re after.

6) Always follow up

If you’ve reconnected with someone and they’re wiling to fulfil your request, it’s important that you show them the courtesy of replying to any questions they may have and send them a follow up message to thank them for their help. They’ve proven themselves as a valuable contact, so you want to maintain the relationship in the future.

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

By Sophie Deering