To solidify an acquaintanceship — that is, to get someone you admire to remember your name — you might want to try something brazen and calculating…such as sending a gift along with a personal letter. I was the subject of such a transparent and disreputable effort last week — and it worked.

On Monday morning, AK brought in my mail. As she usually does, she put it in my in box, along with whatever faxes, publications, and interoffice memos are resting there. But she personally handed me the gift, because it was bigger and evidently more valuable than the rest of the mail. I opened the package right away. (The mail waited and waited.) It contained a large, colorful book titled “Buzan’s Book of Genius” (Tony Buzan and Raymond Keane). It was the oddest thing. “Who would have sent me this?” I wondered.

The answer was found in an enclosed letter. The book was from someone I had met in London last year, an attendee at a speech I’d given on productivity. He’d taken the time, I remembered, to introduce himself to me then. I might have forgotten about him completely were it not for this present. I glanced over the book, thinking, “This must have cost this guy a lot of money.” I promised myself I’d read it and then read the letter. It made reference to our earlier meeting and his subsequent reading of ETR and said he thought I’d enjoy the book because it covers some of the concerns I’ve focused on in ETR and in consulting. How could I not be pleased?

A few days later, I zipped through the book and did, indeed, find material there that I could use for ETR. As a consequence, this young man now has a first-name relationship with me that might, one day in the future, be a considerable benefit to him. What about you? Is there someone you know, but not well, that you’d like to know better? Have you met someone recently with whom you’d like to become more familiar? Take a chance by sending a gift. I recommend books, because they are the right balance between personal and impersonal and are both valuable and reasonably priced. Try it and then tell me if it works for you.