Success in business is largely about who you know, which means that building and maintaining a strong professional network is key. However, sometimes a connection you’ve worked to cultivate fades out over time. Yet this doesn’t mean that this person is lost forever. If you’re looking to rebuild that professional friendship, try using one of these strategies:
Send an e-mail where you don’t ask for anything
The best time to restart a professional friendship is when you don’t need anything at all. Try dropping that person a line and talking about something you know that they would find interesting. Maybe you bumped into an old friend that you both know, or perhaps you saw a movie you think they would like. You can even just ask about their family or a project that you know they’ve been working on. It takes time to rebuild that connection, so plan ahead and don’t jump in when you really could use a favor or some kind of assistance. This helps to take the pressure off and makes everyone feel more at ease.
Remind them of how you know each other
If it has truly been a long time since you chatted, you may need to remind that person about how you know each other. Just give them a sentence or two about the project you worked on, the internship you did, or the friend of a friend who introduced you. This will help to jog their memory and may mean the difference between whether they hit “reply” or not.
Let them know that the road goes both ways
Saying, “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you” is a great way to rebuild a connection. People like to know that a relationship is a two-way street. If you show that you’re willing to assist just as often as you’re willing to ask for help, people are much more likely to want to stay in touch.
Offer words of congratulations
If you don’t know how to make the first initial contact after a long period of silence, offering words of congratulations makes it easy. Did the person get a promotion? Recently welcome a child? Drop them a note with your well wishes. This lets them know that you’re invested in their life and are excited about the good things that they have going on.
How did you successfully rebuild a professional connection? Let us know in the comments!