There is no getting around it. Building and nurturing the relationships in your professional network are key career boosting activities.
If you are like me, your email inbox receives a constant flood of emails from all kinds of people. One of the things I find is that I have significant email interactions with some people during the year, but they don’t make it into my contact management system. I have a process for doing so, but it isn’t foolproof. Not only do you not want to lose the details of those contacts, but you might also want to work on building that relationship. Here are 2 steps:
1. Work through your email inbox and see if there are any people you want to stay in touch with who slipped through the cracks in terms of not making it into your contact management system. Look at the From field and the cc field as well. This might include both internal contacts and external. The external might include…
Vendors. Customers. Consultants. Industry experts. Media contacts. Event organizers. Strong candidates. Headhunters. And interesting people you were introduced to, met or had some interaction with.
And don’t forget that cc field. There is often hidden treasure in being included in email conversations with people you didn’t physically interact with. (For example, if you were dealing with Person X, and X sent email communications to you and Person Y and you responded to X and Y responded to X, there might be an opportunity for you to touch base with Y to solidify the contact.)
(BTW, let’s not forget those things called business cards. If you are sitting on a pile of unprocessed business cards, this might be a good time to work through those as well.)
Make sure the contacts you would like to be part of your network are included in your contact management system of choice. If you go through this step, it will also refresh your memory about who you did interact with during the year. Even if they made it into your contact management system, you may have forgotten about them.
2. Flag the people that you think, suspect and hope might help further your career development plans.
And that’s it for now. (For extra points, you might want to send a Happy New Year message to some of these people just to touch base.)