In the quest for new clients, new business and new collaborators our network evolves and time marches on. But what of all the old contacts that get left behind in our wake? How many of them are sitting there thinking “I wonder what happened to…we used to be in touch so regularly…” How many of them could you still be doing great things with – or for – if you were only still in touch?
The truth is, dormant contacts probably equate to lost opportunity. Some of the people who added value to your life and work a few years ago could probably add value now. And vice versa. How many would respond positively to finding out they hadn’t simply been forgotten?
Do yourself a favour. Grab a big sheet of paper – larger than you might imagine you need – and map this out. Work instinctively at first, creating a spider diagram of names. Map people not entities – it’s the ‘human to human domain’ you need to explore.
The best way to start the process off is to think about what each ‘leg’ of your spider diagram will represent. For example.
- Past clients.
- Past collaborators.
- Gatekeepers – those who you know that can give you access to useful networks.
- Influencers – people who have powers of persuasion within their niche.
- Connectors – the wonderful people who seem to know everyone!
- Fans and champions – people who give you great feedback and willingly spread the word.
Map on a historical basis first – map out only people you feel you have lost touch with. Write down everyone who comes to mind – edit later. Sometimes your subconscious is a better judge – you can bring logic into play later in the process. Keep going until you are exhausted. Pause. Come back to the task after a break. Add more.
If you want to be really thorough, go through all your old contact lists, social media lists, fans and followers. Dig through filing cabinets, diaries and notebooks. You might just have a ‘eureka’ moment.
The power of this list is in quality, not in numbers. Of all the names you have remembered and brought back into play – who could add value to your life and work – and vice versa – once again?