There comes a time in most of our lives when we look at our most important relationships and realize they are not where we hoped or once enjoyed them being. We could each create a long list of the reasons why this occurs from a failure to communicate regularly to simply life being too busy for us to slow down and meaningfully connect. Whatever the circumstances, we know that something is not right and that a change is needed in order to restore the relationship.
The same is true for leaders and professionals in the work place. We spend so much of our time trying to find a new client, close a transaction, or develop a new product that we fail to nurture those relationships that helped us first be successful. These relationships were the ones that took that first leap of faith with us when we started our business. They were our first clients, our supportive friends and family, and trusted advisors that gave us encouragement as we built our business from the ground up.
There is comfort though in the knowledge that the human spirit longs for reconciliation and fellowship with others. By taking another leap of faith and reaching out to those we have lost touch with, we start the process of establishing and building relationships again. Making the choice to reconnect with someone is usually only a struggle between head and heart. I encourage you to start this courting process again with people you have lost touch with or in an effort to heal a broken relationship that is important to your life and business.
Here are a few reminders as you begin this process:
- There may be initial pushback. No matter who is at fault, some people will question your intentions and wonder why you are reaching out to them. They will want to know your motives.
- Remember to clearly state your intentions. These calls, emails, or letters may be difficult to do but don’t hold back from what is motivating you to reconnect. Before contacting each person make notes about what you enjoyed most about this person when you knew them or worked with them. As you talk with them, let them know you are sorry for not staying in touch and how you’d like to work on building a quality relationship with them again.
- Ask for their permission to stay in touch. Just because you’ve reached out does not mean you can pick up right where you left off. Ask for permission to stay in touch and how they would like to see this happen. There are many options: email, Facebook, a phone call, or the occasional coffee or lunch.
- Attempt to see the person face to face as soon as possible. There is something about being in the presence of each other that helps the reconciliation and relationship building process. Face to face communication allows you to read tone and body language more accurately and avoid drama. A great ice-breaker is to share something personal you have recently gone through that has helped you recognize the importance of relationships and why you are striving to change.
- Follow through with your renewed commitment. If you make the effort to reconnect don’t repeat the mistakes of the past and fail to maintain the relationship. Follow through with your commitment to communicate, relate, and fellowship with the person. Create a list of action plans that you can enter into your priority management plan to ensure the relationship remains a priority in your hectic life.
Question: What are you doing to reconnect with past friends, family, and customers?
Make it a great day!