How do you keep in touch with your network on a regular basis? How do you figure out whom to stay in touch with, and how often to connect with each person?
And how do you keep track of all this without getting overwhelmed?
Before I answer these questions, let me make a very important distinction: “Networking” is not the same as “keeping in touch” with people.
Don’t confuse the two!
You keep in touch with people for a variety of reasons. And networking may be one such reason.
For instance, you may keep in touch with a co-worker from a past job just because you like his or her company.
And one day, he or she may be able to help with a networking objective you have - such as, advise you about how to get the attention of the decision-maker within his or her current organization. (This, by the way, is a good example of integrating networking into your normal day. )
On the other hand, if your only reason to keep in touch with someone is for “networking” purposes, it can get tedious.
After all, what do you talk about, when you get together to “network" week after week? (This is why “networking" often fails. )
To avoid this problem and confusion, first clarify why you want to meet and make sure that both sides see the benefit of getting together. (This is one simple way you can identify the “right" people to stay in touch with. )
Then together you can decide how best to keep in touch (e. g. by phone, email, in-person, or a combination), how often to connect with each other, what to talk about when you do connect, and so on.
After you've made these decisions, you can use software tools to automate many aspects of keeping in touch. This allows you to stay in regular contact - with the right people at the right frequency - without getting overwhelmed. For a list of tools I recommend, please visit my website (see below for details).
(c) Copyright 2007, Srirupa Dasgupta
Srirupa Dasgupta is the author of Effortless Networking: Everyday Wisdom to Transform your Business and Life . She helps business owners build, sustain and leverage the professional and personal network that is necessary to succeed. For more information, visit her website at http://www.EffortlessNetworking.com