Just last week I picked up the phone and called Tom. “Tom, Let’s have lunch!” “OK, when?” Pretty short conversation! But, we both knew a lunch was way over due.

Tom and I volunteered together years ago and enjoyed working together. Back in the day, getting together for lunch was the norm, not the exception.

It’s easy to get busy. Loose touch with colleagues. Between work, family, vacations, sports, hobbies, life in general, most get caught up in the day-to-day. Next thing you know, you’re working without a net – your network!

Have you ever had people in your life where time flies by and when you finally do hook up, it feels like yesterday? As though things pick up right where you left them? Those moments are magic. That’s what happened between Tom and I.

You feel connected to something bigger than you. Life doesn’t seem as isolating and vanilla. You know there are people that will be there for you when you need them. So, why don’t you do it more often? Are you assuming those contacts will always be there?

Networking is a great way to find your next job. Some would argue it’s the only way. It’s also fun to check in with people to see how they’re doing. Catch up on all the latest. What’s amazing is how the results multiply.

Look around for a place to sow a few seeds….Henry Van Dyke

Tom and I shared all the latest news. By the time we left the restaurant, I could hardly wait to get to the car to jot down some notes. Just through catching up, I had names and organizations to contact with ideas for new projects. I went for lunch and left with dozens of opportunities, all unexpected.

Tom? He walked away with just as many benefits. That’s how it goes. The person benefiting most was the waitress. She received laser career coaching from both Tom and me!

Most don’t realize they’re working with out their net, until they need it. That’s why it’s important to keep your net in tact! Or for some of you, reach out and beef up your networking skills.

When was the last time you picked up the phone to check in? Asked a colleague to lunch? Sent a quick e-mail with news or information that may be of interest? Congratulated someone on a promotion or new job, birth of a child, condolence card for a loss?

Time does fly and soon, the correspondence is down to a Holiday card or, worse yet, thinking about sending one. Has this happened to you? Is it possible you’ve lost your net?

If so, it’s not too late to recast your lines of communication and rebuild it! When you think about it, how much time does it take to send an e-mail to extend a lunch invitation? Or better yet, pick up the phone?

The ideas for basic networking and staying connected are endless. Everyone has a favorite way of keeping in touch. That is not the hard part! It’s the follow through.

What can you do this week to maintain your net?

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