How to stay in touch with my network without being awkward?
Great job on wanting to stay in touch. Building a strong network is a foundation to a successful career & life. Unfortunately, in the same way we're not taught about personal finances at school, no one really teaches us how to stay in touch and build relationships.
Why can it be weird or awkward to network and stay in touch
Simply because we don't know how to. Especially for introverts, networking can be a real burden. Your manager or boss might have invited you to an event and asked to "mingle", or you've recently met this really awesome person and don't want to lose touch, but you simply don't know how to reach back out..
That's totally fine. This article is here to help.
How to reach out to this contact with whom you want to stay in touch with
Why do you want to stay in touch?
It isn't that complicated, that's the good news. First, you need to really understand why you want to stay in touch with. This does not make you a selfish person, it's just about understanding the why or your action. It might be because you think you can learn a lot from this person, it might be because you can offer this person something he/she wants, or anything really!
Understanding this will help you find better ways to interact and stay in touch.
How can you add value to this person?
People are generally generous, and will happily share their knowledge with you if you ask for it. But a meaningful relations is bi-directional: both parties should want to stay in touch.
Others will want to stay in touch with you if they get something from you, that can be anything! Maybe you're fun, or you can introduce them to cool people, or you have a common passion, ..whatever! If you understand why someone is in touch with you, you can be a much better connexion by giving them what they want!
When to reach out
Timing is always important, but many people use this as an excuse for not reaching out. Just reach out. Don't worry if you think they are busy. That's their thing, and if they really are busy, they might just miss your message or forget to reply, which is fine!
Through using a tool like Nat, you can get an instant overview of your network and always know when you should reach out to avoid losing touch.
What to say when you do reach out
That's the thing people are the most uncomfortable with. They just don't know what to say.
Let's say you're coming to their town, or just read an article about something you discussed, or just saw their latest LinkedIn update, or read one of their blog articles. There are thousand reasons to reach out. If you know you want to reach out to someone and don't know what to say, just take a look at their social media profiles, you'll most likely find a topic to talk about.
- Hey John, just saw your article on LinkedIn, what do you think about X?
- Our common connection just sold his company, isn't that incredible? When did you learn about this?
- I saw on Twitter that you're coming to my city next week, want to grab lunch?
Ask for advice
People love to help. If you've got a question that you think they can help you with, simply ask them. That's a really good reason to reach out, and people will happily get back to you with feedback. You might ask to do a short video call, that's even better to create strong connections.
- I'm currently thinking about Y and wanted your thoughts given that you have done X
- I was wondering, why did you do Y, I'm thinking about it but not sure it's a good idea..
Give an update
Humans are curious. We like to learn stuff about the people we know. If you're launching something new on Product Hunt or moving to a new city, you might share this on social media or send an email to all the people you know who live there!
What do to when they don't reply?
People don't reply. That's fine. Most of the time, it's simply because they are super busy and missed your message/email.
Simply follow up. One, twice, and then stop. If you've followed up two times and haven't gotten a reply, then maybe they don't want to chat, and that's fine too!