I don’t know about you, but I can almost always tell when I get a thinly disguised personal mailing that is actually a mass mailing of some kind.
On the one hand, I am glad you are communicating with a lot of folks because you need to do that. But, there is a big difference between doing a volume of networking and doing a mass mailing. A mass mailing isn’t in any way personal. In the context of networking, mass mailing is an act of desperation or ignorance as to “how the game is played.” When was the last time you had a warm fuzzy about a letter that began “Dear Current Occupant” or “To Whom It May Concern?”
With all the information you should have about the people you are contacting, it is just so easy today to create a boilerplate letter with fill in the blanks. Honest, you should be embarrassed if you don’t do it.
Even if you have to email out your letters one at a time, it is well worth the additional effort.
When communicating with your fellow members of The FENG (given the amount of information in our membership directory) it really isn’t all that difficult to find some common bond or area of familiarity to make your “boilerplate” letter appear personal. You could mention my hometown, places where I have worked or even the universities I have attended. (However, mentioning that my telephone number has a few digits in common with yours is probably a reach.)
The paragraphs that follow in your message are equally important. Why exactly have you contacted me? What do you think I will be able to do for you? Have you attached a copy of your resume so I may review your background and see if it makes sense for us to speak?
And, yes, I have found another opportunity to mention OUTGOING SIGNATURES. (If you don’t know what that is, you are in big trouble.) An outgoing signature is essential. It should include your “Greeting to use,” your phone numbers in order of preference, and your email address. (No, your email address is not always visible in the “From” box.) On “Greeting to use,” please know that if you are an Anthony who goes by Tony or a Robert who goes by Bob or Rob, I need to know.
Mass mailing presumably makes your life easier, but it makes the lives of those you have chosen to “reach out and touch,” much more difficult. There are those who are on the receiving end of a great number of networking communications and you need to be sensitive to their feelings. (Yes, you aren’t the only one who has feelings.)
I believe it has been said that everyone has written across their forehead “I want to feel important.” Let me know why I might be important to you and I just might offer up some help.
Make me feel like a P.O. Box number, and I am liable to hit the delete key.
The FENG is a society of friends. You can’t buy your way into our organization. To get in you needed a sponsor, a friend who thought enough of you to offer you the opportunity to join one of the best if not THE best networking group in the entire world.
I’m sure you don’t want to disappoint that individual.