Very few of us can look at where we are and really say that we got here alone — there are always people we have come to know to help us get there, and in today’s world of social media and increasing interconnectivity, we’ve come to know a lot of people. But we can sometimes fall prey to our own expanding contacts list — can you make sure you’re getting the most from what can almost become a deluge of connections? And can you do it without being fake?
The truth is that it’s not as hard as you think, and it’s not just for the super-social or outspoken folks. It’s a skill that anyone can master.
And we’ll tell you how.
Building Authentic Relationships
“Long gone are any days when the few dozen people who live within a few miles of you are the only people you might know or talk to on the day-to-day.”
First, let’s talk about what networking really is: an organized way of meeting and engaging with people who share a common interest or goal. This isn’t the science of manipulating people for later use, this is the science of building relationships in a world where technology has brought so many people all over the world so much closer together than they have ever been before. The truth is that humans are social creatures, and communication and cooperation have always been the cornerstones of what we accomplish. But long gone are any days when the few dozen people who live within a few miles of you are the only people you might know or talk to on the day-to-day. There is, in this way, simply more information to keep track of to keep yourself up to speed with the people you come to meet. This is where the organized approach we commonly refer to as networking comes into play as a method of helping us to naturally build productive relationships even when we come into contact with unnatural numbers of people.
Organizing Your Contacts
In order to be a successful networker, you need to make sure that your contacts are well organized. But this is more than just collecting contact information such as phone numbers, email addresses, LinkedIn info, etc. Your contact list should also include more detailed information such as their employer and job roles, birthdays, spouses and children, as well as hobbies and interests. At the end of the day, you want to connect with people, not with phone numbers and email addresses — that’s just how you’re networking. The data you collect and associate with your contact list should be representative of the people you want to reach.
“Likewise, you may want to group your prospective contacts separately from your developed contacts.”
In addition to organizing detailed information about your contacts, you need to organize the contacts themselves. More commonly, this is done by grouping contacts into job-related categories such as their employer or industry. But for some applications, you might find that grouping your contacts by interest may be more relevant for your networking goals. You may also want to consider a sort of “speed dial” group for key contacts — people who occupy key positions within an organization or group of contacts and people who get things done.
Likewise, you may want to group your prospective contacts separately from your developed contacts, not just so you can keep your developed contacts close, but also to assist you in developing strong relationships with those prospective contacts. That’s why we designed Covve with the ability to organize your contacts by location and industry, as well as by customized tags. Auto-complete and import features then work to fill in the blanks from your address books and contacts lists so you don’t have to struggle to collect every detail.
Keeping in Touch with Your Contacts
“We don’t want to waste the time of a contact we’ve gotten to know, so we’ll put in the time and due diligence to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything.”
Making that initial connection is only the first step, and as our lives and communications get busier and busier, keeping track of these communications — who you met with, who you emailed, who you spoke to, and so forth — becomes it’s own challenge. It quickly becomes common practice to start searching inboxes and voicemails before you contact someone you haven’t spoken to in a few weeks. We don’t want to waste the time of a contact we’ve gotten to know, so we’ll put in the time and due diligence to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything. Similarly, this is another place where a little extra organization can go a long way. Comms” are a simple yet effective tool: add notes after every communication with a contact and keep a clear history of what was said and when. We remind you to stay in touch with the contact that matter most and flag contacts you are losing touch with.
The world has certainly never been smaller, but there are still more than seven billion people living here. We can all do more together than we can separately. That’s what networking is all about, and Covve is here to help.