Jim's blog about the holidays being a great time for connection - proved out in spades for me. However, now that it's January, one could accomplish the same thing - very soon - using a wish for a happy new year to your contacts! And then, if you can't do this now, you can always do - 1)Ground Hog Day, 2) St. Paddy's Day, 3) or?
Before the holidays I wrote 137 customized emails - each personalized, either reflecting a conversation, something about the person, something I felt about Christmas, or a simple but heartfelt expression of gratitude I reflected that our profession had proven out all over again as a great one to be in....because of the people. The 137 emails took some time....I did about 15 or so every day, trying to keep them fresh. It helps to actually stop for a moment and experience the sense of gratitude. I also used "happy holiddays" in place of "Merry Christmas" about half the time to be inclusive of all the holidays in December, not just Christmas.
To my huge surprise, I received 50 replies! Numerous people wished me happy holidays in return, or inquired about my search, or said "keep me in the loop" - the perfect phrase you want to hear, setting the table for a return call. At least one hinted at something in the works - we will see what happens One person responded with an invitation to a free but hugely valuable and very "exclusive" seminar for her clients of her strategy firm - to "help me network". You will have the same experience, I am sure.
The key is to personalize and to place your heart into the email if it's indeed a reflective time....another way to do the same thing is to tell a great story, perhaps about something that happened in your life or in your job, that is inspiring - and to share that story just to bring a smile to the other person's face. If it's a story that ends, "this is why we are in healthcare and this is why you help has meant a lot", you will really reap dividends.
I don't know about you, but I always stop to read an inspiring note or story - we need them.