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Organizing Your Network


Enda Goodwin
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Keep track of contacts

Networking is about information. As you make contacts and build a strong network, you will gather and share information. But you must keep track of your contacts and what you discussed.

You can use your own electronic address book to organize and track your online networking contacts. However, what’s missing here is keeping track of the information. For example, in traditional networking, you tend to collect business cards. Professionals know, at minimum, you need to make note on the card to remind you where you got it and why you have it. The online world makes it easier.

Use technology to manage contacts

Fortunately, there's a world of technological solutions out there to not only keep track of your important contacts, but to manage the information efficiently.

While many email programs can organize and sort the actual contact information such as phone, email and mailing address, they don’t allow for tracking information. Contact Management Software (CMS) enables users to store and search information, such as names, addresses and telephone numbers. They also track all contacts’ communication activities and information, provide calendar sharing and team collaboration features. Most CMSs are cloud-based and are very easy to get set up. Some CMSs are also available as standalone applications. There are many different options to choose from. However, CMSs can get expensive.

If you're trying to keep costs down, chances are you've already got something that you can use for contact management. Mobile tablets and smartphones (ie. iPhone, Blackberry, Sony, Samsung etc.) often come equipped with personal information management (PIM) software. If you use Microsoft Office or Lotus SmartSuite, those packages contain usable PIM programs as well. Check with the software publishers’ websites for more information.

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