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There was a recent thread about keeping track of KITW lists and contacts (ensuring that you're keeping in touch with everyone that you need to keep in touch with).

I'm having a similar dilema. M&M suggest having 1 networking lunch each week. How do you decide who to invite for lunch? Ideally it would be great if I had a system that allowed me to group all of my networking contacts (thats the easy part - Outlook can do this) and then also track the last time that I have face to face interaction with that person (that's the hard part). Then I could simply sort by those that I've gone the longest stretch without seeing.

Does anyone have a system that they use for this?

Jason

arc1's picture

Jason - that was my thread, so I empathise with the dilemma!

Don't have any great answer, except that whenever I want to track something and no obvious whiz-bang solution occurs to me, I always just revert to an Excel sheet (or even Word or hardcopy).

In Excel, for example, you could just have a sheet which lists everyone in column 1, and then for each person, you can enter a date in column 2 on which you last had lunch. That would then be sortable either by column 1 (names in alphabetical order) or by column 2 (dates in ascending or descending order). So by sorting column 2, you'd easily see who you've not had lunch with at all, or who was the most distant in time.

Cheers, Chris

HMac's picture

Facing the same dilemma, I found myself reverting to the oldest form of organization known to us - the 3x5 card!

Available since the Caveman, these things are remarkably useful and flexible.

I simply made a card for each person I wanted to [u]actively[/u] network with (so I limited it to about 100). Each card has the name and phone number on it, then a quick notation of contacts and dates.

OK, so the information is not all captured in a database...but this DOES have the advantage of being able to regularly "shuffle" through the cards and pick then next 10 or so I'm going to contact.

Sproket's picture

I like the 3x5 card idea. In fact, I ordered this (http://www.levenger.com/PAGETEMPLATES/PRODUCT/Product.asp?Params=Categor...|Level=2-3|pageid=5465|Link=Img) from Levenger a few days ago and expect it to be waiting for me on my doorstep when I get home today, so this is good timing.

Where do you store your 3x5's? I don't so much mind the non-technical solution, however, I am highly mobile and like to have all of my 'stuff' with me so that when I think of something that I want to talk to someone about, I can make a note of it.

HMac's picture

I keep them with me all the time, in a rubber band. They're usually in my bag, ready to be pulled when I have a few minutes between assignments, on the train, etc. Some of the older and less active ones simply get kept in a card file box. I admit to a little complexity here - I do a little color-coding (blue cards for my colleagues, green cards for recruiters - that sort of thing). But it's REALLY easy of overcomplicate this system, which is meant to run lean and simple...

If you haven't heard of Merlin Mann's great "43 Folders" site, here's a link to his brainchild, the "hipster PDA"

http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/03/introducing-the-hipster-pda

My index cards are very much in the same spirit (and I'd love to think of myself as a "hipster" :lol: ). I enthusiastically recommend Merlin's work.

davebirchall's picture

Personally, I use technology and social networking to connect and keep in touch with my professional network.

Globally I use Linked in www.linkedin.com/in/davidbirchall

and locally I use www.sydneynetworkers.net

I use these site it to get an idea of who I am dealing with and to organise people into groups.

Its no substitute for getting face to face however.

ramiska's picture

I use Outlook. It allows me to store notes along with names ans numbers. I can also sync it with my portable devices. I make sure to keep the info at home as well as at work. Just in case.

I can then use outlook tasks to remind me to keep in touch. Otherwise I'd surely forget.

kklogic's picture

[quote="Sproket"]
Where do you store your 3x5's? I don't so much mind the non-technical solution, however, I am highly mobile and like to have all of my 'stuff' with me so that when I think of something that I want to talk to someone about, I can make a note of it.[/quote]

I was doing GTD on 3X5 cards and found one of those $.99 Grandma "brag book" style photo albums to be perfect.

quentindaniels's picture

I feel everyone's pain here as I have the same problem. There is a website out there that may be helpful for what we're struggling with.

http://www.highrisehq.com/?source=37s+home

Highrise is a web 2.0 suite for companies to manage clients with. So, I set up a free to manage my network.

Pro's:

centralized information
can't be lost
has an email feature that will match any email you forward to the person in the email and keep it in their file

Con's

Doesn't auto track phone conversations (I sent an email asking)
Only as good as the information put into it
Not set up do what we want

Ideally the software would log all email and phone calls and every-time you sent or received a communication. Meaning the user could set a limit to the longest amount of time someone can go without communication. The countdown would constantly be reseting as communications flowed. When the communication stopped the alarm would go off at 3 months.

I am still trying to master the site. Let me know if you want to learn more.

I think it has enough features to make it worthwhile e.g. vcard upload/download

QD

HMac's picture

One more possible "con" to consider: what happens if Highrise goes out of business?

That's a consideration with any new web-based venture: what hapens if they're swallowed up, or simply stop operating...

-Hugh