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Five ways to reopen lines of communication

David Brancaccio Apr 28, 2014
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We are often taught that the key to networking is to get out into the world and meet new people who can serve as valuable connections for us in the future. But Adam Grant, professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, says that there might be a more effective strategy, especially when you are looking for jobs or sound advice: Reconnecting with someone you haven’t talked to in a long time.

“It’s a lot easier to rekindle an old connection than it is to start a new one from scratch,” Grant says.

Reaching out to people from your past can be harder than you think, especially when you are compelled by the fact that you need something from them. Grant, who authored the book “Give and Take,” suggests that it is all about how you frame your approach. The key, he says, is to be genuine and to make clear what you need and how the other person can help.

Here is his list of the top five things to say to someone to reopen the lines of communication, without sounding creepy:

  1. I really miss our interactions and you’re one of the people who has had a meaningful impact on my life.
  2. I’m coming to your city, and it would be great to catch up.
  3. I saw on Facebook that X happened. Congratulations. It’s been too long since we’ve been in touch.
  4. One of my goals is to give more to the people who matter to me. I’d love to find out what you’re up to and figure out how I can be helpful.
  5. I’m working on something I really care about, and it dawned on me that you’d be the ideal source of advice. Would you be willing to spend 10 minutes chatting and sharing some of your wisdom?

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