Ideas to stay in touch with folks
This is a special week. Coincidentally, two of my ex-colleagues from my very 1st role in India (from 15+ years back) are visiting the San Fran area. I met one of them on Tuesday and another one I am meeting in an hour. This is so exciting. Though I worked with them a bit, I would honestly share that I was not very close to either of them. Somehow they were on my Facebook, too, in addition to being LinkedIn connections. And here we are, meeting after 15+ years. So, my today's ideas are on how to stay connected (beyond being a connection) with people (especially beyond your immediate close network):
Please comment and share your ideas too! I would love to hear from you.
1. Liking posts is the least you can do.
If you see any interesting posts from your connections (on any social media), whether text, photos, or any other update- please like them. This is the simplest and easiest way to have an ongoing touch with people without being overwhelmed, as we all have a big "online" network.
P.S. Only like it if you actually like it. I am not asking to fake it. I am only asking you not to be a passive reader.
2. Try to connect beyond liking the posts.
Once you are comfortable liking the posts, try to comment and engage with posts when you can and as appropriate. This is another relatively more effortless way to stay connected with your network without much effort. And, I like to do it more organically vs. being very structured about it.
3. 1:1 Private message
I occasionally send 1:1 private messages to their inbox (LI inbox, FB Messenger, and rarely email for some ex-colleagues). I am more of a 1:1 person, and though I do not have all the time in the world, I sometimes find opportunities to send 1:1 messages. For ex: I get a pop up for folks' birthdays on LinkedIn (I do it only for folks' I was reasonably close to), or I read/see something that reminds me of them (for ex: the day before I saw a street name in San Francisco that was the last name of my ex-colleague at PayPal. I took a photo of that and shared it with her "thinking of you"... Again, the purpose of none of these messages is an immediate outcome or if they were very senior. This lady was my level and a business partner. That's all. However, I love this one-off, somewhat random, 1:1 message. These also keep the relationships alive.
4. Invite to meet
For out of town connections, If I see a post on their social media that they are/ or are planning to visit my area, I ask them if they would be available to meet. In short, I make an effort to meet as I love meeting folks 1:1, especially meeting people after long periods!
5. Do not over engineer
I know that everything can be engineered. And in an ideal world, you could download your contact list from Linkedin every quarter and then go to them by alphabet or last name and try to reach 1/4 of them every quarter or so. I am not motivated to do this. Also, it loses the fun.
I like ad-hoc, natural, simpler connections. I know that I will never be able to reach everyone. However, that's not my goal either. I am OK with whatever. And whoever I can get to.
6. Be authentic
I enjoy meeting people. I enjoy conversations. I do not overdo it. As long as you are not overly friendly/imposing/demanding/meeting with an immediate purpose, people like to know/meet people. It's been rare that I meet someone after 5-10-15 years and do not like it. I can only recall one such instance where I was excited to meet this high school friend, especially as I was an active follower of her on social media and liked her. However, when I actually met her after about 15 years, I did not find her that authentic. That's all.