I just listened to the May 9, 2006 podcast on "Building a Network".

As I am in constant network building mode, I am just wondering if anyone has implemented Horstman's law # 281 :P , Control Shift K?

How is this is working for people? I encourage you to go beyond just viewing this posting and share some of your experiences.

If you are a high D, tell me what to do.
If you are a high I, share with the group
If you are a high C, take your time, gather some metrics and let us know
If you are a high S, perhaps you want to comment on the process?

I look forward to hearing from all you growth-oriented professionals. Thanks in advance.


mwojtow's picture

I just lsitened to the "Building a Network Podcast" on the way to work this AM.

Currently I manage my network electronically. In other words, through my email service I have my network contact information (i.e. name, phone, email address, firm and title)

On an excel spreadsheet I categorize each person as either tier one, two or three based on how often we stay in touch (e.g. once every six weeks tier one; once every six months tier three and tier two is in the middle). Then include as data when they were last contacted (date), how (email, phone, voicemail) and a real quick bullet about the subject matter.

wendii's picture
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I'm glad your post has come to the top again. I'm hopeless on the whole network thing (High D, High I, only call when I want something but then chat for ages!), but your post made me laugh like a drain when I first saw it and I just wanted to say, thank you for that amusement.


(thanking you somewhat late but still valid apparently!)

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Mwo and Wendii (love the ii :D )

Thanks for responding. I was kind of shocked no one responded to this post. I think it shows how hard it is for people to build their network. Or perhaps how people don't see the value in it. Or perhaps it shows something else that is beyond my observational skills.

Oh, where are those Horstman witicisms when you need them? :wink:

BTW, Wendii, Mark said some really nice things about you in another post. Sounded suspiciously like a letter of recommendation (insert double wink here).

Have a great day and thanks again for the feedback.


mwojtow's picture

After giving some additional thought I seized the opportunity to improve my contact tracking sheet and expand it to include internal contacts (as recommended from the podcast).

With the same information (I mentioned in my post sent earlier today) I categorized all contacts as either external (to the organization) or internal. So, for example, if I look at my external contacts I get a quick snapshot of their contact information, when we last touched base, how (i.e. phone, lunch, email) and what we talked about. I find it helpful as respects to rule three (stay in contact)

Also, I posted the three rules in my tracking spreadsheet.

Curious how others manage the process and implement the rules? :?:

juliahhavener's picture
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I...haven't quite made it that far. Wendii's High D/High I comment sounds reaaally familiar, though!

I've recognized the need for that network, and have a few very key pieces of it in place, but it isn't formal. The High I side of me just likes to talk, so I make an effort just to check in on a relatively regular basis.

(I guess I should go listen to that one, eh?)

Mark's picture
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I have.

My network is so good that when I got fired, it took me 30 days to find income that put my new firm's annual run rate at $1 million, employees 2. Nice ROI, all those calls and cards and mail. I haven't done any marketing in the years since.

Feel free to not make YOUR calls. I'll take the business.


Mark's picture
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Two more comments.

1. When I commend folks here, there ought be no suspicion. Good is good, though I do write recommendation letters, because mine get read.

2. The reason your post wasn't responded to is that no one is doing it. Do not confuse simplicity with ease. Simplicity is the minimization of extraneous work, but it is not ease, which is the elimination of all work. People say they want simplicity, when in fact they want easy. Staples is able to SELL those "Easy" buttons that are part of an advertising campaign. Sheesh!

Do not pray for life to be easy. Pray for the strength to overcome it, or at least slightly more strength than the fellow next to you.. which is to say not bloody much.


Dani Martin's picture
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I started getting really serious about building my network about 6 weeks ago after Mark spent a day with my entire team (DR's and skips) doing a session on relationship building. I had actually heard Mark's content twice before: once in person and then again on the podcast. I'm so embarrassed... :oops: The third time's the charm for me, I guess. :D The difference this time was that I realized if I was going to expect my team to take action, I better set the example.

After 6 weeks, I have increased my network by more than 30 people! I find the control shift K process to be very simple after making a new contact. Just three steps: #1. A hand-written note saying "it was nice to meet you" or "thank you" (for someone who's a volunteer with my org). #2. Add the person to my contact list. #3. Create a repeating task in 3 months to "stay in touch with ___".

I also took about 2 hours to go through my entire contact list and created "stay in touch with" tasks for each person spread out over the next quarter. It felt GREAT to accomplish that!

My next step is to follow up with my team. I'm planning to share my progress with them and ask them to do them same. I'll offer a fun prize/reward to any team member who responds.

My only regreat -- that it took 3+ years! That's more than 1,000 contacts lost. I remind myself of that every time I need some motivation!

Thanks Mark and Mike! You guys ROCK! 8)

Dani Martin's picture
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I forgot to include... I'm high D, high I. I enjoy making the contacts, but I LOVE crossing the tasks off my list. :lol:

rthibode's picture


Yes, I've been using Ctrl+Shift+K in Outlook to add to my @STAY IN TOUCH list (the @ refers to an organization system called "Getting Things Done" for those who don't know).

I've been doing pretty well. I now have about 50 people on the list. Some of them I've determined to contact every 6 months, some as far apart as once a year. Most of them are former staff of mine, with a few neglected friends thrown in, and a few former professors and colleagues.

I was resistant at first. I feared that I'd open a floodgate, and all these people would start getting in touch constantly, wanting to be my new best friend. I was wrong. Everyone was friendly, but no one was overbearing. Also, I was worried about looking silly getting in touch with people I haven't bothered with for years, but everyone has been great.

The total sequence of getting in touch takes about 10-15 minutes per person. (I've done all of it via email, since almost none of these are people I've ever phoned before.) With former directs, it's informal, something like this:

Me: Dear So-and-so, I was thinking of you the other day and realized how long it's been since we'd been in touch. I hope you are doing well with your [job, studies, travelling, etc.]. Things here have changed a bit since you left. I'm still working on X, but Y and Z are now . . . . Well, that's all the news. It would be great to hear from you, so drop a line whenever you get a chance. All the best, T.

Them: Dear T. What a nice surprise to hear from you! I've been doing X, Y, and Z. I love/hate my job/studies/travel. I learned so much working there and that's really helped with my ___________. I'm planning to . . . All the best, So-and-so.

Me: Dear So-and-so, I'm so glad/sorry to hear about _____________. Keep me posted on ____________, and if you're ever in town, give me a shout and maybe we can grab a coffee.

And that's it. No one has asked me for anything (except one reference letter), or become an annoyance in any way. It's been a real pleasure, actually.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Thanks to everyone for your feedback.

Much appreciated!


juliahhavener's picture
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Project ctrl+shift+K implemented! At this point, I'm simply adding folks in and trying to ensure I get a comprehensive list of folks. I'm lucky because the High I in me *likes* to keep in touch with people, so I do have some professional contacts that go back to the beginning of my career.

I am, however, making a concerted point to make sure my contacts are updated and actively follow up on them. I have several who call me much more frequently than I call them, and I've added them in, as well. I don't want them to ever feel like they do 'all the work' (particularly since many of these are still in a position to help me with my current work).

Thank you all for 'jump starting' my getting this done. It's been an area too long neglected!

asteriskrntt1's picture

LOL Way to go Julia!

You are now ahead of 99% of the others.

As an aside, I also implemented one of Mark's other email management suggestions on top of the control-shift-k. I created a set of rules to send most of my emails to a directed folder, with a secondary rule to create some sort of actionable. Every response now goes into a newly created folder.

It is early in the implementation but I just cut my inbox down from 680 odd emails to 33. I also used rules to get rid of 6,000 or so emails from my deleted items folder. I am also learning a bunch of MS Office tricks every day, which again, free up time and redundancies.

For example, to create a main document (word would be a better tool if it had tabbed worksheets like excel that talked to each other), you can set up the sheet so that it does a paste special and auto update of a second sheet. One can be for your main reviews, CIs and Metrics/Rankings and you can embed that data in the secondary scale-down sheet for your direct report. Everytime you add something to the main sheet, it will auto update the secondary sheet.

These techniques work!


chuckbo's picture

I've been giving all of the credit to my new job to networking -- and I've been pointing everyone to the MT podcast that got me energized and kick-started my network back into life. (So I want to mention it here, too.)

It was my network that showed me this job that, otherwise, I wouldn't have known about. It was my network that told me to go ahead and apply -- even though I don't even begin to meet one of the basic requirements (my friend said it's not really used much and she can help with that part). It was my network that warned me that my application on the automated website never got delivered to the hiring manager, and my friend gave me his name and email so I could apply directly.

Thanks to networking and Manager Tools, I've had an awesome, new job since about a month ago.

Mark's picture
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"I love it when a plan comes together."


[Now if only I had a cigar and a starring role with Audrey Hepburn :wink: ]