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Networking: Warming Up Cold Contacts

Do you cringe at the thought of networking? Do you only “network” when you need something?

 

It’s easy to let our shyness or insecurities keep us from networking, and most of us definitely let lack of time be a factor in why we procrastinate making networking a regular part of our lives. But, if we look at networking as simply creating, building, and nurturing relationships, maybe it doesn’t have to be so scary or time draining.

 

Think of your friendships – you don’t only reach out to them when you need something. You may not talk to them every day or even every month, but you somehow stay connected and show care and love for them versus only connecting when you need something.

 

If you’ve found yourself on the job hunt or in need of other job related help and realize you haven’t nurtured your network, here are some tips for warming up those cold contacts.

 

TIPS FOR WARMING UP A COLD NETWORK:

 

APOLOGIZE SINCERELY

Start out by acknowledging your lapse, especially if you’ve neglected to return phone calls. If someone is gracious enough to forgive, ensure you don’t return to those old habits in the future.


START WITH THOSE WHO WILL BE KIND

You’re surrounded by opportunities to practice your networking skills and make new contacts. Search your contacts list for those that you were close to in the past or that you know have an understanding and helping personality. Start with them. These may be past co-workers, members of an organization you’re in, or social media connections you haven’t interacted with in a while.


DO SOME RESEARCH

Find out whether someone has changed jobs or gotten married since you last spoke. Check LinkedIn or mutual friends. You’ll be more prepared for your first conversation.


MEET FACE TO FACE WHEN POSSIBLE

Digital communications are convenient but personal interactions make a deeper impression. Circulate offline as much as possible. Attend industry events and invite others out for coffee or lunch. Know their preference though. Don’t force in person interactions or delay building the relationship until you can meet face to face.


STAY INFORMED

Your conversation will be more interesting if you know what’s happening in your field and the wider world. Read books, watch movies, and engage in deep conversations.


HELP OTHERS

You’ve probably heard that successful networking is about being generous. You can help others by sending articles, making referrals, or just sharing an encouraging word.


Not everyone will reciprocate, and that's OK. Genuinely re-connect with those who do and then stay in touch. How have you successfully re-connected with a "cold" contact? Share in the comments below.

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