Does this ever happen to you? A person walks up to you and starts talking as if you know him or her. You can’t remember the person. Or even worse, you vaguely remember, but don’t recall where you met or how you know the person—was it at church, your kid’s school, the gym, a party, a conference, a BNI meeting, a sales call?
Does it ever happen that you are that guy or woman who says, “Hey, nice to see you! It’s been a while!” And the other person responds with a blank stare.
I’ve been on both sides of these encounters. I’ve flipped through that virtual Rolodex in my mind on several occasions only to find that there’s no card with the person’s info. And I’ve shared precise details of events to jar the recollections of these folks who’ve erased me from their memory banks.
When these opportunities present themselves to reconnect with those people with whom you had a passing acquaintance back in the day, jump at them and take a moment to trade updates. In today’s business world, when everyone’s job is on the line, when people are changing jobs and careers at a rapid pace, when anyone in sales is looking for new prospects, when who knows you is just as important as who you know, these people who knew you then may be good people to connect with again… now.
Typical scenarios: That stay at home mom you knew from the neighborhood pool in 1995 now runs a business that could use the software you’re selling. That banker whose kid played soccer on your daughter’s team in 2000 has just opened a restaurant and needs your social media consulting skill. That salesman you met at a church retreat in 1998 now runs a computer repair shop and yours is running slow. That woman you met at that scouting seminar in 2002 has recently inherited money and wonders if the investment product your company offers is right for her.
Once you take a moment to catch up, you may want to connect via LinkedIn or Facebook. As time permits, you may want to set up a meeting and compare notes about what’s going on in your lives and your careers now. As I have said more than once, what you’re doing now is more important than what you used to do. But people from your past can play a useful role in your future.
(This article was originally posted in March 2013.)