Networking Awesomely: Get the Right Systems in Place

Today my friend Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle launches his mega ebook - Networking Awesomely - and I'm excited to be a guest contributor! My excerpt is below (and includes the latest addition to my template family, the Networking Tracker). More about the ebook in Colin's own words:

"I propose a new kind of game, one that involves creating much stronger bonds, better social habits, a more fulfilling approach to life and a more valuable network. I’ll give you tips, tricks, philosophies and stories that will help you become a better networker.

Networking Awesomely is an ebook with over 250 pages and the cajones to get the job done – for the teensy-weensy price of $20."

To get your copy of Networking Awesomely, click here. Note: this is an affiliate link. All proceeds will benefit the Life After College cupcake consumption fund. :)

Excerpt (My Networking Tip): Get the Right Systems in Place

Networking is most fun when you can connect with people naturally, but it can help tremendously to have effective systems in place to support those connections. After I attend an event (skip to step 3 for people I meet online), I usually go through the following five steps:

  1. File business cards - Rolodex Schmolodex. I store my business cards in a regular-sized binder that has special sheet protectors with individual slots for each card. I suggest writing the context in which you met the person on the back of their card, and one or two physical descriptors.
  2. Identify people to follow-up with - At any given event, there are usually 2-3 people I want to get to know better. I plug their names into my networking spreadsheet (template here) - which tracks people I want have follow-up conversations with. That way I don't have to refer back to their business card any more - their information is easily accessible online (and stored in one place).
  3. Add follow-up names to my to-do list - One of my categories on my to-do list (I use is called "Networking." I add tasks with the names and email addresses of people I want to schedule for a follow-up call. It may sound mechanical, but it really does help me remember who I want to reach out to.
  4. Schedule a call (via phone or Skype). This is the fun part!
  5. Send a follow-up email to say thank you (and make a note on my spreadsheet if we mentioned talking again at some point)

A final note on the networking spreadsheet: I don't add names of friends and acquaintances - it's more for business contacts and professionals in fields that I am interested in; in other words, people I wouldn't otherwise be in contact with on Twitter or Facebook. The nice thing about using it to track networking activities is that I can skim through it later and drop people a note if I haven't talked to them in a while.

Let me know what you think of the new template, and happy networking!


The Book of Awesome Giveaway Results

Thank you all so much for the AMAZING comments on The Book of Awesome giveaway post - 60 people chimed in with some seriously awesome things! I had a huge smile plastered on my face as I read and replied to all of your great comments - they were are all brilliant. And big congrats to Eve (in South Korea) who won the autographed copy.