How to Organize Contacts for Networking
Why organize your contacts? So it will be easier for you to keep up with them and meet the goals of your networking plan. Think about how all this information will be most helpful to you. Use whatever device, software or email/contact program you use on a daily basis. Organize them according to groups that make sense to you.
One simple way is to create groups of contact based on how frequently you use them. So, one group might be current, frequently used contacts. Another group is those people you want access to, but know you won't be speaking with more often than once or twice a year. An optional third group can be for "old-timers." People you haven't contacted in a year or more.
Tips for organizing contacts and keeping up with them:
- Look online for articles on organizing contacts for a specific software program, social media, or device;
- Create groups in email programs like Outlook and Gmail;
- Make sure you keep a contacts list saved separate from your current job. This is particularly true for contacts saved in email programs.
- Try using "tags" in LinkedIn to organize your connections;
- Use the "notes" section for contacts to record when you last contacted them.
- Use your calendar to add reminders to contact or follow up with people within a certain time period.
- Give your network and network plan an update at least once a year.
And don't forget the old fashioned way – start out by writing down or typing out a list. Sometimes you just have to get started. Don't procrastinate on reaching out to someone because you haven't figured out how to organize all your contacts.