On a long drive back from our family vacation at Mackinac Island, stuck in holiday traffic, we made the grievous error of introducing my daughters to the joys of “Knock-Knock” jokes.

I’ll let that sink in for a few moments.

I love my daughters, but they have the sense of humor that most children have which says: If a joke is funny once it must be even funnier for the hundredth time. In an effort to provide any change, I actually went on the Web to find “funny knock-knock jokes”. In the results was this little gem — a variation on the theme.

Will you remember me in a day?
Will you remember me in a week?
Will you remember me in a month?
Knock knock!
Who’s there?
See? You’ve already forgotten me!

As silly as it is, isn’t this joke an illustration of one of the underlying concepts of networking? After all, in order for our networking practice to be successful, we need for our networking connections to remember us and what our needs are. What’s the point of working ourselves up to asking for the referral if they forget it as soon as they are out of our presence?

So, how can we help them remember?

  1. Remember them first. You make the effort to stay in regular contact and look out for and connect them with opportunities that will be to their benefit.
  2. Thank them for asking. If they show any interest in your needs acknowledge that effort.
  3. Thank them again. After you thank them in person, thank them again in a note or email. “Thank you again for being willing to help me connect with the ABC Company. I really appreciate it!”
  4. Make it easy. Do you have a standard introductory paragraph? Offer to send it to them. If they don’t have to do too much to help you, they are less likely to forget.
  5. Report. No matter what effort they’ve expended, be sure to let them know the outcome. Let them know what they started.

While the same joke heard over and over can get old fast, people rarely tire of being remembered. Keep them up to date on the results of their efforts on your behalf and they are more likely to make those efforts in the future.

Photo by Richie Diesterheft