It’s difficult to remain connected with those you don’t see or interact with on a regular basis. How often do you stay in touch with team members once you complete a project? Do you continue to touch base with previous staff members when your position changes? How do you stay in touch with the people you meet at networking events, conferences, workshops, and tradeshows?
With the help of a database, you can track and manage your relationships. There’s a number of database products on the market from low cost to higher priced solutions. You could even use a spreadsheet to track your contacts. It took me a couple of hours initially to setup my database where I placed my contacts in three different “tiers”:
- Core Contacts - close friends, alliance partners, business colleagues
- Professional Contacts - former project team members, current and form clients
- Community Contacts - people who I've met at conferences, tradeshows, events, and the like
Managing your Database
One of the techniques I use for managing my database combines my love of reading and research with a desire to keep a well-oiled network. Once or twice a month I update my contact information, e.g. did someone change jobs, get a promotion, receive a new certification or academic degree, or leave their company?