By Clare Kumar
In business, it’s often said that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But, what good is that if you struggle to organize and manage your contact information?
True, we now have more opportunity to find contacts through social media sites such as Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter, but it’s still important to develop a smooth process to keep your contact information current and easily accessible.
Here are 3 steps for simple and effective contact management:
Collect the cards
Gather and store newly acquired business cards in one place. Hint – The box that your business cards came in makes a perfect container.
Select a contact management system
Electronic address books capture detailed contact information and enable sorting and finding contacts quickly. Search by name, company, title, city, and any word you choose to add in the notes section. The ability to easily backup contacts provides peace of mind.
Business card holders – binders or folders with pockets for business cards are helpful if you recall information because of visual cues found in the company branding or a photograph. To make it easier to find a specific contact use index tabs within the binder to group like contacts.
Rolling card holders make it easy to add cards and preserve alphabetical order. Take care to file the contact information as you would expect to search for it, for example by profession instead of by name or company name.
Regularly add contact information to your address book/card storage system
Enter business card contact information into your address book or business card holders in batches for greatest efficiency. Make sure to include any notes you have made on the cards when entering information electronically.
Add contact information appearing in emails to your online address book as it comes in. Copy and paste all relevant information from the email signature.
If business cards often pile up, be sure to schedule the time to process them regularly, especially after networking events, conferences or trade shows. Card scanning tools and mail-in services are available if you’re looking to improve processing speeds or delegate the task.
Coming up next in the series: Information Management – Time Saving Tools
ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.