Relationships, especially professional ones, have a life cycle. They ignite, grow, peak, and then decline. Any number of reasons can contribute to a relationship’s decline: a project’s conclusion, a career transition or promotion, or maybe a geographic relocation.
But a relationship’s decline doesn’t mean it’s over; it simply means that the relationship’s context (the glue that held it together in its current form) has eroded. If you still want to leverage the relationship, use these five surefire strategies to rekindle it.
- Information of value
Thanks to today’s wired world, you can easily keep track of others even if you’ve lost direct contact. Forwarding a relevant article with the message “saw this and thought of you” will always resonate positively. And it often generates a response. This small action can have huge leverage potential in starting a conversation.
Hey Sue. Saw this article and thought of you. Love to have a quick chat and catch up on your success.
- Professional connection
A change in a colleague’s professional status or position often doesn’t mean they disappear; it’s just an indication that they’ve transitioned to a different role. Staying active in your business community and attending networking events is an ideal strategy to create opportunities to re-connect with and leverage contacts who have new responsibilities.
“Hi Bill. Great seeing you. I bet your role is keeping you busy. How about a coffee or quick lunch? I’d love to hear about your new responsibilities and see how I might be helpful.”
- Event invitation
One of the most effective strategies to renew a lapsed relationship is to invite a contact to an event. The invitation itself acts as a leverage point, but make this strategy even more impactful by ensuring the event is of interest to the person you invite. In addition, since you’re hosting your invited guest you can dictate the quality of the conversation over the course of the event.
“Hi Betty. I wanted to let you know I have an extra ticket for the Business Achievement Awards. I’d love to invite you as my guest. I think it’s an ideal opportunity for you to connect with some great professionals.”
- Personal issue
Business relationships span much more than professional areas. They often encompass personal areas that are as (if not more) important. It can easy and enjoyable to use a personal area to re-connect and re-ignite a relationship. Often, it’s all that is required.
“Hi Ron. I wanted to let you know we skied at Whistler last week and stopped in at the Red Crescent Inn for dinner. I still remember our lunch there and how great the food was. Hope all is well at your end. I’d love to have a quick chat and catch up.”
- Serendipitous meeting
Sometimes the universe does the work for you. All you need to do is be aware of the opportunity and leverage it into a relationship-building moment. Take control and launch the relationship by sending a short follow up note with a call to action.
“Hi Luigi. What a surprise bumping into you as I left the restaurant today! I hope your soccer team won. I was thinking it has been a while since we chatted. You up for a quick coffee? I’d love to hear about your success.”
Michael J Hughes, North America’s Networking Guru specializes in helping professionals increase results by improving their ability to maximize relationships. He has done extensive research on and is a specialist in, utilizing networking as a business strategy.His client list includes names like Dell, Royal Bank, Sales & Marketing Executives International, Sunlife, Workopolis and the University of Ottawa’s Telfer EMBA program. Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org