At the age of 18, Kristina Ross was working at a Hugo Boss store in an airport in Scotland. Like most 18-year-olds, she wasn’t certain what she wanted her career to be. She suspected she might want to be a writer. She had a passion for menswear, hence her choice to be a salesclerk at a well-known menswear retailer.
Kristina’s daily morning routine included getting coffee at the airport shop across from where she worked. On one such day she struck up a conversation with the tall older man standing in line in front of her.
The man was politely inquisitive. Kristina found herself (somewhat abashedly) delivering a monologue about her passion for menswear and dreams of becoming a writer. (Also like many 18-year-olds, she hadn’t mastered the art of reciprocal conversation with an adult.)
When the two said goodbye, the man handed Kristina a black business card. It said the gentleman’s name, followed by: Rothman’s NYC, 222 Park Ave S.
Kristina, horrified, realized that she had spent the last few minutes talking about her love of writing and menswear to the owner of an iconic menswear store in New York City.
Kristina followed up. She sent the man some of her articles right away. He published her articles. This led to other writing opportunities with different companies and publications. Kristina kept in touch with the man over email for years. The relationship (or as I like to call it, “stay-in-touch-ship”) led to countless more opportunities, and Kristina attributes this relationship to the early success she found in her career. She now runs her own business called Kristina Makes Content.
Staying in touch often simply means following up. Many individuals commit to following up and then never do. Not following up is the best way to end a relationship. Simply following through on your commitments to stay in touch can make a huge difference in your career. Following up shows the other person you’re true to your word and that you care. These attributes matter.
Staying in touch doesn’t have to mean weekly phone calls, monthly socialization, or daily texting. Far from it. Staying in touch is a commitment to communication whenever the person crosses your mind. That can be in an email like in Kristina’s case, a quick text, a LinkedIn message, a quick video message, or even the occasional funny meme on Instagram.
Staying in touch via regular communication is the equivalent of saying, “I know we both have busy lives, but I think about you. I value you.” For some people, a once-a-year text or email constitutes staying in touch. And that’s perfectly fine!
Kristina not only followed up with the man, but she gave him something he genuinely needed: well-written content. This is the perfect example of a symbiotic networking relationship: the company needed high quality content, and Kristina wanted her content published. She provided the man with something he needed, and as such, he was thrilled to make introductions for her and stay in touch.
These three actions are simple but surprisingly rare. And they can do wonders for your career and business. How can you be better at staying in touch starting today?