It is well known that it is always important to maintain contact with friends and associates who have impacted one’s life in some positive manner. This principle also applies in case one has positively impacted his/her friends – people do remember positive actions and support rendered at critical stages in their lives.
While “networking” refers to the generation of new contacts in business or industry, one cannot underestimate the importance of rejuvenating old contacts from one’s previous life. When I recently attended the IIM Bangalore Alumni Meet, I realized that I have not seriously attempted to maintain and renew my old alma mater contacts – seniors, classmates and immediate juniors. Of course, I am part of the Yahoo mail group of my class of 1987, but that does not really lead to the objective of regeneration of institutional contacts.
Events like the alumni meet do help in a significant manner, as emails follow after the meet. Phone calls happen, and who knows – there may be business looming somewhere in those calls. It could be mutually beneficial. So, why not invest in ensuring any contact is captured, contacted once in a while, and also met occasionally ? I am doing this now – though I should say that I have met old school contacts on and off over the years. However, after a quarter century, those contacts and classmates have arrived at significant junctures in their respective lives and a rejuvenation attempt, done sincerely, creates interesting possibilities for both sides.
Continuous and constant networking yields positive results, if done without an immediate personally benefiting goal apart from the mutual interest to know about each other and the respective areas of expertise. The same thing applies to old contacts – they just want to know how you are doing in your chosen field, and how they can be of any help in the future. Now, I have access to my secondary school classmates who have put together a great group online after so many years. It is always refreshing to see an email from your classmate who was known as a prankster in the secondary school, and kept everyone including the teachers guessing !
So, I am into this regeneration of contacts from yesteryears in a concerted and coordinated manner. This effort also applies to ex-colleagues from previous companies. Just yesterday I met an old colleague who worked with me for couple of years and has been a CEO of a startup in Mumbai. He is now moving on as CEO of another startup in Delhi, and it was great to meet him after some time and have a cup of coffee. There was no immediate consideration of any sort, but I offered help in terms of providing contacts to him in his new industry, and he appreciated the support. After all, we are there to help each other and why not offer help if you do understand what is needed and can offer the help in a practical, beneficial manner ?
It was a great meeting, and I am continuing my non-stop efforts to meet other contacts. I am sure all this effort will eventually fructify into something very meaningful. The key issue of importance is the investment of personal time. It is critical to invest time and stay committed during the meeting to understand each other. Things will follow soon.
Hope this helps the budding youngsters who are going to shape the future of business.
16th June 2012