Making Contact: How to Organise your Network
“Organising is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A.A. Milne
The “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” adage rings very true for some and not so for others. But one thing we all have in common is the challenge we have in managing the “who you know” part. Nothing will ever replace face to face connection but in this online world of multiple social networks and the digital way we do business, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of who’s doing what….and why we’re interested in it!
The question I get asked all the time is ..."So what happens when the connections we make at face to face events merge with social media networks? How do we make sure we are keeping in touch with the right people at the right time?" The answer is a contact management system. This can be as basic or as sophisticated as you like. Here are some tips for merging all your contacts into one spot and being proactive about when, where, how and why you next connect.
Email address book
This is a basic way (and my most preferred as it sync's with all devices) to capture key contacts but it’s beneficial for people who use email a lot for their business. You can enter notes and even birthdays / anniversaries into each contact profile about the person, there is ample opportunity to enter all other contact details such as business, website and phone number.
Create your own spreadsheet in Excel, Access or other similar software packages. Exporting friends / contact lists from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is simple to do. Each platform offers varying degrees of what information is downloadable. Twitter exports username and bios but not the email address. If you have a Yahoo! Email account you can import your Facebook friends into your address book, then export the file to your desktop. While you may not have everyone’s phone numbers and emails, it’s a great place to start AND you’re placing all connections – face to face, social or business related – into one spot. Much easier to manage.
Apps and Add ons
There are some free apps and plug-ins that will streamline the way you gather and manage your contacts. Xobni for Microsoft Outlook plugs into your email address book and integrates the social media profiles of all your contacts. This saves you doing the manual download from platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Gist and Jibber Jobber are also great for compiling all contacts into one place and provide additional organisational tools that allow you to track relationships and the when, how and why you last reached out to each contact.
Smart phones for smart networking
81% of Australians own a smart phone and if you did your own social survey just by observation, you’d find that most of that 81% are never more than a metre away from their digital lifeline, the smart phone. So it makes sense that you manage your contacts on your phone. It’s a handy way to capture information when you are attending events, business meetings or just out socially. Try Groups 2 and WorldCard Mobile smart phone apps to capture and control your connections. With a bit of forward planning and by harnessing your inner organiser, you can save yourself time and heartache. Getting on the front foot with a clear structure and system for managing your contacts will help nurture and develop your business relationships for both your personal and business growth. The main aim is to stay visible and top of mind. As always, get in touch if we can help you implement your networking strategy Happy Netships Julia