…networking is so 2018.
I have a strategy for keeping my relationships strong with the people I don’t see very often. I guess you could call it networking, but I hate that phrase. I use Trello, but it doesn’t really matter what tool you use for the following friendship hack.
I have about 12–16 key people in my life that I just want to keep in regular contact with; not with any particular purpose. Most of them have given me business or speaking opportunities, but it’s really just that they’re interesting people. I always learn something when I speak to them.
It’s really, really simple in Trello because I just set a due date of, say, 60 days from now on each contact’s card. When we speak, I’ll put notes in there on Trello about what we talked about. It’s also really easy to do follow-ups. I can tag someone on my team and say, “Hey, I talked to this person, please send them a copy of my book.” Then, I have a record of that entire exchange.
As you know, I’m very, very much about the external brain. It’s really easy to get lazy and just keep all of your contacts and conversations in your head. But I think that it’s very helpful and way more effective if you get it out of your head, so you not only know what you and the person talked about, but what action you took afterward.
With more and more people using calendly or scheduling software in general, I realized that there are a lot of people who feel like that’s not a personal enough touch. But I think calendly is a wonderful gift you can give people. You tell them, “You can book at any time that’s convenient for you.” Of course, when they get in there, they’re going to see the parameters that make sense to you so you’re actually controlling it. I think that this old-school notion that you have to have a secretary like Miss Moneypenny who’s personally going back and forth to set a time with someone is super antiquated.
These days, my contacts send me a calendly link and I started saving them on their cards in Trello. So when the due date comes up, I go to the Trello card. I see what the last conversation was, I pull up the calendly link and I book it, which saves a ton of back and forth. So I have a calendar full of really interesting calls and conversations with people whose counsel I trust and whose company I want to keep invigorated.
I used to talk about how the average meeting takes eight emails to set up and now calendly made it possible to do in one step. Now I can make it zero steps really as I’ve taken control of my regularly scheduled contact with these people. Everybody benefits. So there’s my little relationship management hack that you can all use and set up in about 10 minutes. And I hope you do. Make it an effective week.