People often ask “How do I stay in touch with people?” or “How do I get back in touch with people that I haven’t seen or spoken to lately?”
You have to start by making a commitment to improve in this area. If you haven’t been good at this in the past, start to focus on improving today.
- Sort through your lists. You can’t stay in touch with everyone. Create a shortlist of people you want to maintain a relationship with.
- Use the system they use. If these people are really important to you, show up where they are: email, social networks, telephone, What’sApp.
- Use social media platforms to share news and updates. This way people can see what you’re up to even if you don’t send a personal message.
- Send a letter or card by snail mail–at least once in a while.
- Use messaging systems like Skype or Facebook Messenger.
- Make periodic phone calls. In some cases, a regularly scheduled call is appropriate and effective.
- Meet face to face. Nothing beats actually meeting someone face to face and having a conversation.
Do you have a strategy to add? Or an example of how you use one of the seven? Share it in the comments.
Brought to you by the Networking for Success YouTube Channel.
Complete Transcript of Episode 491 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube, featuring Dr. Ivan Miser and many other networking experts. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Hi Priscilla. This week, I am in Las Vegas, Nevada for an executive management meeting for BNI. We tied it into the International Franchise Association, which is being held this week. This is the management team for BNI globally, so many people from all over the world who help run the program are here.
That’s great. Is that a large number?
About 20 people who are part of the top management, the Executive Management and Executive Council which are in the top countries.
So today I am going to talk about seven strategies to stay in touch. People often ask me – this is a great podcast for early in the year because people often ask me how I stay in touch with people or how I get back in touch with people I haven’t spoken to lately.
I think the first thing- I am going to give you seven strategies. Here is a bonus concept before I give you the seven strategies. That is that you have to start by making a commitment to improve in this area. There is a great Chinese proverb that I really like and I know I have shared it on the podcast before. When is the best time to plant an oak tree? The answer is 20 years ago. When is the second best time? Well, today.
If you want to improve on your follow up, you can begin, if you haven’t been real good at it in the past. That’s okay. I hereby forgive you. Start the focus on improving strategies now. Here are seven strategies that will help you improve in this area.
Do the ones that work best for you. They may not always work for you, but surely, you can take three, four or five of these strategies and apply them.
Here is the first thing that you want to do: One, sort through your list. You can’t stay in touch with everyone. Who do you want to make sure to stay connected with and why? It could be personal or it could be professional, but create a list where you want to focus on staying connected with these people.
I am not talking about just throwing them into a spam bucket. I am talking about people that you really are staying connected with and help build a long term relationship or to maintain a relationship. Nothing kills a relationship more effectively than benign neglect, not staying connected with people, not reaching out and touching and having a conversation with them from time to time.
Number two- this is important- use the system they use. This is kind of tough but for the people who are really important to you, you want to use the system they use. It doesn’t have to be Facebook or LinkedIn. It could be Pinterest or some other programs like SnapChat or What’s App.
Whatever they use, if you really want to stay connected with these people, you need to use the things they use. I would save this for your top echelon people who you really feel it is important to stay connected with.
For me, I realized this when I started thinking about this. It struck me that each one of my children use a different system. Clearly, I want to stay connected with my kids. If I want to stay connected to them, I need to do where they are, not where I am because I am Dad. They may or may not want to, you know, stay where I am at. But I needed to go where they were at.
So for my oldest daughter, it is texting or a phone call. I text her or I call her, boom, she responds right now. For my second daughter, forget about texting. Forget about phone calls. It just doesn’t happen. She doesn’t respond. For her, it’s What’s App. I don’t get it. I don’t get it, but then I am a baby boomer. What’s App- if I send her a message on What’s App, she responds right now. But if I email her, forget about it. Phone call, not going to happen.
For my son, it’s an online game called Steam.
Really? I don’t even know about that.
Well, he is a gamer. He loves to play games, and there is an online messaging system in Steam. So I have gotten on to Steam. I have bought a couple of games. I play a couple of games online. The primary reason I do that is to stay connected to him. Some of the games that I bought are games that are multiple player games so he and I can play together. But the really cool thing is that even if I am not playing, I can get on Steam and send him an instant message. And he will respond right now.
Because that is what he is doing.
Exactly. Where he’s at. You’re right.
Use the system that they use.
Now, that was for my kids. By the way, a good strategy I think for you and your children if you have children. But it is also applicable in business where you know, I find that some people are really active in LinkedIn. Some people are more active on Twitter. Other people are more active on Facebook.
So there are a handful of people that I really, really want to stay in touch with and I recognize that one or the other is a more effective technique to connect with them on. If I want to stay connected with them, I have to do that.
Alright. I am taking a lot of time with number two, but it was an important one.
Number three, use social media platforms. Use social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to your advantage by sharing news and reading updates without having to chat with people on an individual basis where you are calling them or emailing them. By getting active on social media, you can comment on something or like something a lot easier through those kind of social media platforms.
It’s also easy to kind of reach out and say, “What’s new?” You can even comment on photographs that they put up. “You have a new job!” “You cut your hair.” Whatever. These touch points help you stay connected with people who you have met.
Here is number four: From time to time, use snail mail. Yes, oh my goodness. Send a letter or a card, I know, it is so old school. And it is almost guaranteed that someone will read it because nobody sends letters anymore. Very few people send actual cards anymore. So snail mail I recommend as a great follow up.
Skype or other instant messaging system. Now, I am not a big fan, but it is not about me. It is about the other person. What are they using? I see a lot of people using messaging systems online. I only connect with people on Skype who I actually personally know. But other people, they keep their Skype line open like a telephone line. If that is what they do and you know that, you want to do that in terms of reaching out to them.
When I get on Skype, they are always present, or almost always present during the workday, and I know that I can reach out to them.
Number six: periodic phone call. Crazy idea, I know. Really talk to people. Your smart phone has a green button. Use it. Hit send. If appropriate, set up regular calls with some people. My wife and her sister have done that for years, where they have sort of a sister call time. So they reach out to each other at the same time every month to have a conversation.
I do that with people in my busines. I do that with people that I am doing business with, where we have regular phone calls from time to time, but they are set in our calendar.
Number seven of seven strategies to stay in touch, Number seven is face to face. Don’t be a cave dweller. Nothing beats actually meeting someone face to face and having a conversation.
You have to eat breakfast and lunch everyday. Why not do this a few times a week with a good referral partner? You can kill two birds with one stone by strategizing with someone about how you can help each other.
Like I said early one, benign neglect is a horrible thing when it comes to building social capital. Start today. Stay in touch. Pick a few of these techniques that I have listed in this podcast and use them as a way to follow up and stay connected with people.
Here are the seven again:
Sort through your list. Use the system they use. Use social media platforms- it leverages your time. From time to time, use snail mail. Skype or other instant messaging systems are great ways to stay connected. Periodical phone calls. And face to face. These are the seven strategies to stay in touch.
I would love to hear any more that you might have. If you have one that you would add to this list, please do it here on BNIpodcast.com. That’s all I’ve got today, Priscilla.
I have one.
What is it?
Client parties. That is kind of face to face, but tell me about this variation.
I have this pie party that I just gave, actually, right before Thanksgiving. I buy my best clients a pie and I invite them over for a pie party and they receive the pie that they order. They have a choice. It’s a really great way to do kind of an intense fave to face with lots of people at once.
I like it. I like it. That’s a great idea. Do you do that every year? Do you do it a couple of times a year?
Well, I started a couple of times, but now I just do it once a year.
Once a year. Listen, that was a great example, so if you are listening to this podcast and have something that you want to add to this list, feel free to do it. Even if it overlaps with something, put it on here so we have more and more ideas.
Some of my very own things overlapped. Find out where they are at and use social media. That certainly overlaps. Even if it overlaps, I want to hear it, so give it to us. Thatnks, Priscilla
Okay, that’s great. Thank you so much. Well, I think that is it for this week. I would like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by The Networking for Success Channel on YouTube. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us again next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.