What’s worse than having the perfect person to reach out to about a job opportunity, a career switch, or an impending move to Asia, and not being able to do so because you’ve lost touch?
The bad news is that it happens more often than you might think. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to reconnect with people, even if it seems preposterous after months or years have gone by. If you have someone you’ve been meaning to reach out to or someone you’re dying to reconnect with, here are three easy steps to make that potentially awkward exchange much less painful and potentially even fruitful:
Reach out: Don’t let the passage of time stop you.
Acknowledge the lapse
There’s arguably nothing more awkward (or annoying) than receiving a call or an email from someone you haven’t heard from in ages but who acts as if you’re best buddies. On the other hand, glossing over a long-term lapse in communication is akin to ignoring the elephant in the room. You both know it’s out there...
Instead, acknowledge the lapse of time upfront and centre—and give that time period some rationale or context. Whatever the reason, you need to acknowledge it.
Explain the ‘Why now?’
There are infinite reasons why you’d need or want to reach out to someone after losing touch. Presumably, you either have an agenda to pursue, you want to reconnect just for the sake of having them on your side if and when you do have an agenda, or you actually owe them something that you never followed up on.
In any of the above cases, it’s important to think about why you’re reaching out now, after all this time, and be transparent about your motive. The “why now” should include both the transition or event that prompted you to get in touch, and your agenda.
Offer a quid pro quo
Finally, throw in an offer of help or reciprocity for good measure. Be gracious and generous (thanks so much in advance for your help, I look forward to hearing from you) and emphasize that you’d like to be helpful to them as well to the extent possible.
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