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So you want to significantly increase your personal productivity and success in all areas of your life? You can go it alone or enjoy the help of others.
Networking is a major Time Management tool helping us to learn from others, getting introductions more easily, and saving precious resources of time and money in the process. I have accumulated five "Neat Networking" suggestions that might help.
1. Make the list. There is power in writing things down rather than trying to remember everyone you know. I use a software contacts program to help. Who do you include? Everyone. Everyone you know, everyone you have met. Don't just copy the white pages from your local telephone directory. "Contact" means you have had "contact". Add everyone to the database. Leave no one out. Include name, address, and contacting information. The average person can easily come up with an initial list of over 1,000 contacts. Sounds unlikely? Start with your family, then your neighbors, and co-workers. How about the co-workers from your last job(s)? Your high school and college graduating classes and the teachers you had. You belong to a professional association, a club, a church? The bank teller, your dentist, your bookie, they all go on the list.
2. Categorize the list. This is when a contacts software program is really useful. Identify those who are friends, those who are acquaintances, customers, suppliers, politicians, professionals, or those who enjoy golf or tennis. The more categories you can place people in, the quicker you can access the right contacts. Through my database, there is not a problem I cannot get answered for myself and those whom I want to help.
3. Feed the list. Once you create the list you have to continue to feed it. Update, correct, and add more and more people as you meet them. We probably meet dozens of new people every week. My database has grown to over 4,000 now. I spend about an hour every Friday to feed my list. It's a chore. It's not convenient but it's worth it.
4. To have a friend, be a friend. Here's how you make all this data work for you. Networking is not a selfish technique. If you want this tool to work, you have to be like a good Congressman. You do things for people. You help them first. I'm always clipping articles I come across and sending them to people I know. I send a lot of birthday cards. I call the majority of the people in my database at least once a year to talk about them, how they are doing, what they may need that I can provide for them. Then when it comes around "election time", when I need something, I feel no hesitation to ask for a return favor.
5. Use it. Whenever I start anything, a new marketing program, a career move, buying a house or a car, I think of my network first and talk to those in my database who may be able to give me some answers. I have saved tons of time and money and advanced my success in so many ways by tapping into my Network database first.
Don Wetmore, a college professor and an attorney, is president of The Productivity Institute, ( www.balancetime.com ) and has been in the field of Time Management / Personal Productivity for over twenty years. Reach Don Wetmore by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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