So, apparently, I boldly claimed that I could teach you how to find addresses for the long-lost mentors and loved ones who you are going to be mailing letters to this month.
What was I thinking?
Finding mailing addresses is tricky in this day and age when people rely on email to communicate.
But it CAN be done, and it's easier than you think!
The name of the game is NETWORKING.
In other words, figure out who you know who also knows the person you are trying to find.
These people will be your best resource.
I don't care what online search engines claim to be able to do, they can only get you so far. Personal searching is always more effective and enjoyable in my experience. And in the end, YOU have to actually make the phone call!
I love to network. In my professional industry, networking is THE way to get a job, and to get the next job. I remember going to someone for job help. He was a friend of a friend. He MADE me PROMISE that in exchange for his help, that I would ALWAYS give a hand-up to others trying to find their way into the TV industry. And I have kept that promise.
It is lucky that Networking comes so easily to me, and that I enjoy it!
I bet you'll enjoy it too, once you get the hang of it.
Step One: Find someone you know who knows the person you are looking for.
For personal matters, that person is almost always my Mother. If I email her looking for an address, she usually has it, and if she does not, she knows where they've gone and/or the name of someone else who might know. And so I work my way down the line emailing, calling, or asking in person until someone knows where my contact is. My mom has been such an awesome help to me in this way for years now.
Step Two: Find someone who works with the person you are trying to find.
Since a person's place of employment is the place where they most likely have to go every day, think about looking for them at work. Of course, this can be sensitive for some types of jobs, but if you are looking for a former teacher, for instance, or even a teacher who has since retired, there is a good chance that calling the school where they worked will give you a good lead for finding their address. Be upfront about why you are looking for this person (you want to send them a thank you note!) and be willing to leave your contact information to be given to the person you are looking for. You might want to practice introducing yourself and your "cause" before you approach someone. People are more likely to give you information, if you sound like you know what you are doing.
Step Three: Always ask a follow-up question.
You care about finding the person you are asking about. The person you are speaking with most likely does not share your passion. So they might give you a "no" answer or an "I don't know" answer, just to get you off of the phone and out of their hair. I find that a dead end is only a dead end, if you let it be so. If I call somewhere looking for information, and the person says they don't have the information I am looking for, instead of hanging up, I always quickly ask, "Is there someone else who might know? May I speak with them?" Always listen carefully, and find your opportunity to ask another question!
Step Four: Follow all of your leads where ever they may lead.
As you know, I worked as a guest booker for CNN before becoming a stay-home Mom. A major part of my job was finding the right person in a politician or celebrity's entourage,the person who has the power to put me in touch with the all-important guest for an interview. Many times, just saying "I'm calling from CNN," got me right in the door, but other times, I was sent on a wild goose chase to find my "in". Never give up. Call on every lead.
Step Five: Be bold and a little bit tenacious.
I was once home on a quick visit in my hometown. We were driving past my old neighbor's place of employment, and I really wanted to say hello to him and show him my new baby! I asked my mom to pull over. I went inside and asked at the front desk of the sports store, where Mr. Michael was. I told her that I was his old neighbor, and that I hoped to say hi to him before I left town. She told me that he always eats lunch at this diner just down the street. It was a yucky day, cold and wet. I could've just said, "Ah, he's eating, I'm not going to bother him." But instead, I said, "Mom, let's go down to the diner!" I went in alone and found him eating alone at his favorite booth. He didn't mind at all that I had hunted him down. He gave me a big hug and came out to the car to meet Guy. It was really a nice reunion...and one that I could have missed out on, if I hadn't followed the lead given to me by the woman at his work, and had the audacity to follow it.
Step Six: Don't be afraid to start from scratch.
If you don't know anyone who knows the person you are looking for, start by looking through old letters, address books, yearbooks, reference letters and other school or official documents. This could lead you to old addresses and phone numbers or even numbers for relatives of your contact.
The good old phone book still works like a charm. Search online for phone book information for cities that you are not local to. About three years ago now, I decided I wanted to search for my mother's ancestors who live in Pennsylvania. Since my grandfather died when my mom was just a baby, we had lost contact with that part of our family. My personal contacts were severely limited, so I cracked open the online phone book for Scranton, Pennsylvania and looked up the phone numbers for every person with the last name of Czekala.
I picked up the phone and called them all. I introduced myself and said that I thought we might be related. I made one good friend out of that...a distant, couple of times removed, half-cousin! A few weeks later, we made a trip up to the area to meet up with some of these new-found relatives and to visit cemeteries. I had an address for the family "homestead", but I couldn't get through via the phone. I knocked on the door. A surprised-looking woman answered. I said, "Hi, I'm Jocelyn. I think we might be related..." Since then I have found many relatives who were all but lost to us previously. All of this came from a search that literally started from scratch.
Those are all of the search tips that I have for you today. I'll most likely have more tomorrow. Yesterday, you started your lists of people you'd like to thank. Today, your mission is to start searching for and gathering their mailing addresses. Go to work!
And once you FIND those addresses, you'll need to keep them in a safe place.
I think I'm a fairly high-tech girl, but I hate storing my addresses on my computer. When I want to sit down and WRITE A LETTER...I don't want to have to go into my computer to get the addresses! It's just counter-intuitive. I might as well write an email!
So I like using a good old-fashioned address book. It's just much more handy.
For today's giveaway, you'll have a chance to win this very useful and stylish address book, hand-picked by moi! (I think Nancy Drew would approve!)
I love the pattern of the cover made by Erin of Thread Lightly Designs.
At Thread Lightly Designs, you'll find lots of cool wallets, organizers, address books, and luggage tags--all things to help you stay on top of your Service Boot Camp endeavors this month.
Right now, Erin is offering you a 10% discount off of everything at her shop when you enter the c