By Stephanie Osmanski
How many emails do you send per week? I estimate that I send an average of about 20 emails on a work day and maybe three each on Saturday and Sunday.
But aside from all of the back-and-forth emails I send daily at work, there is one email I send per week that is the most crucial. It has nothing to do with making a deadline, applying for a job, or requesting to be removed from an email list.
It’s an email with one goal: to connect.
Every week, I make it a point to reach out to someone via email, whether it be a contact I haven’t chatted with in awhile, a person I recently met, or someone I haven’t met in person but with whom I’d like to get acquainted. It’s always conversational in tone and sent with the intention of either expanding or nurturing my network.
Because here’s the thing: People always emphasize how important it is to network but they seldom tell you how to establish, grow, and groom that network.
So here’s the secret: Keep in touch with your contacts, whether you interned with her three years ago or you want to sing praise to the co-host of a podcast. Send that email! Get on their radar because creating the network is important, but maintaining it is equally as important.
This week, I asked a classmate-turned-blogger to meet for lunch. The week before, I reached out to one of my favorite brands about writing for their site. The week prior, I emailed a photographer I found on Instagram. That photographer responded and we finalized a photo shoot in a week. The brand I idolize wrote back they’d love to have me write for them. And I had a lovely lunch with a like-minded creative who not only understood my struggle as a content creator but who could also really speak to all the ins and outs of blogging.
Sending an email per week may seem like a lot at first, but think of how many missed opportunities there currently are in your life. If you religiously listen to a podcast, let the host know you’re an avid fan. If you’ve been following a blogger for years or even just stumbled upon one you really like, let her know. Love someone’s Instagram? DM them.
I used to underestimate the power of a good “reach out” but now I don’t think twice about it. People love to hear that their work helped someone or that the conversation you shared at a work event last night changed your perspective. Always, at every opportunity, tell people how you feel.
Besides, most often, networking connections are made on a personal level before they ever are forged solely in the name of business.
Sending an email per week covers your bases: You’re staying fresh in the minds of people you’ve already connected with, reaching out to new connections, and exploring new potential opportunities you may not have realized were even there.
Stephanie is a chai tea enthusiast with a special penchant for telling apart the Sprouse twins. She works as a social media editor in the magazine industry and blogs about all things lifestyle at StephOsmanski.com. Her words have been featured on Life & Style, InTouch Weekly, Seventeen, USA Today, Parents, and more. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.