3 of 5 Managing Connections/Relationships — “Keep in Touch”
Relationships matter. Period.
We meet people all the time and in many different places.
When I say meeting someone, I mean talking to them.
You don’t always have to get their name or their background.
But realistically, you meet people on a daily basis — or at least weekly.
Of course, there are different levels of meeting someone. You might be chatting with someone at a local coffee shop or diner and that’s the end of it. Perhaps you’re beside someone on a plane and you talk for a few hours. Maybe you make a deposit at the bank and say hi to the bank teller and that’s it.
In all those situations, though, you are meeting people. You decide how much you are going to know about those people and what you are actually doing with meeting them.
Meeting Someone Important
Sometimes people fail to understand that everyone is important.
Who are you looking to connect with?
Maybe the principal of a school system in a metropolitan area as that’s one of the things that you most aspire to in your future.
So what’s the route you would take to get there?
Would you conduct a search of schools in a particular area and then try to reach out and connect with principals at those locations?
That could work.
But there’s another way.
Think about the existing network that you have. I’m confident that you know people who live in a metropolitan area — probably one very similar or the same as where you’d aspire to work. Why not ask those people if they know a principal?
Why not tap into the network that’s already existing and built and seek their guidance?
Mirroring to Gain Perspective
I strive to hold a mirror up to people when this sort of conversation comes up. They might say things like, “Oh, I don’t know anyone. Oh, I couldn’t ask them. Oh, I don’t feel comfortable.”
That’s where the mirror comes into play.
I say, “well don’t you know John, Darnell, and Katerina?”
I say, “well wouldn’t you help them if they asked you for your help?”
I say, “well do you think they’d feel comfortable asking you?”
People aren’t often comfortable asking others for help, it’s very much a practiced skill that could take years to become proficient at doing on a consistent basis.
But, that’s how relationships are built.
As the adage goes,
“Trust is a peculiar resource; it is built rather than depleted by use.”
Putting it Into Action
Remember the days of the Rolodex?
I certainly don’t.
I know that I’ve seen a few here and there and I’ve had people who have used them for certain things. I believe that my Dad might have used something very similar for birthdays too.
But, today? Not me.
I’ve been searching for a while for something that would allow me to better organize and manage my contacts and relationships.
Over the past handful of years I’ve met an innumerable quantity of interesting people that sometimes, it becomes easy to forget about someone for a few months or even longer — and I could imagine that most people would say the same thing.
Recently, I’ve found a company called Dex.
It’s fantastic. I’ve inputted a handful of connections so far and have loved the email flows that they’ve been maintaining. Even better, the founder has a spectacular background and vision and we’ve gotten to exchange a few messages.
For me, it’s the foundation. It’s putting the system in place so I can maintain the relationships that are most important to me.
There are many other things that I do but here are a few:
1. Weekly calendar time to view upcoming birthdays and prepare thoughtful cards
2. Review the 6 people I spend the most time with at least twice a year
3. Set reminders for reach out on a quarterly, bi-annual, or annual basis depending on the relationship
Relationships matter. Period.
Makes sure that for people who are important to you, you are doing what’s important to them.
My Mom, for example, highly values phone calls. Once a week is about the minimum that she likes to catch up and I know that the quality time we can share together over the phone is particularly important. This helps her know she’s valued in my life and it helps her recognize that I appreciate and prioritize her.
For other people, such as my sister, we don’t talk on the phone as much but we text regularly. She’s the person I probably text more than anyone else. And when we’re together, she likes to be together, 100%. That means no distractions and providing some undivided time for her.
We need to make it a priority to understand what is important to the relationships that we have.
One of the great role models in my life is fantastic. He makes dedicated time to speak with me on a regular basis. There’s an expectation that I come prepared for those conversations. We spend a fairly short amount of time in conversation and after the greetings, it’s a very pointed conversation around some specific items. Our last conversation was around career progression and how I should focus some of my goals for the next 2–4 years.
“When you are far from others, you judge them, when you are close to others, you love them.” — John Maxwell