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Networking with Jason Alba: Part IV

by Scot Herrick on January 25th, 2007

We’re interviewing Jason Alba, of JibberJobber.com, an Internet software Career Toolset that helps people manage their relationships. It’s been a good week, too, with some really good answers to the questions.

Here are the questions from the last three sessions:

What are the 3-5 incorrect perceptions about networking?

I’m starting at “ground zero” in terms of networking. What are the first action items I should do to start building a network?

Why should networking be something that I do all the time in my career?

And, here’s today’s question:

What are the critical factors in understanding and managing your personal network?

I think its imperative that you understand where you are at with each contact. Some may be very strong relationships and you can remember everything about them. Others may be “once-in-a-while” contacts, and details can get fuzzy. I usually think I made contact with someone when in fact I haven’t, and this is one area where “it’s the thought that counts” just doesn’t cut it. So keep track of the strength of the relationship, last contacts, action items, etc. Just like a salesperson would do with their huge database.

The other thing I think is critical is follow-up. This can be immediate follow-up from a lunch, or a monthly or quarterly e-mail to just check in. Send articles of interest, introduce your contacts to others that may be valuable to them, etc. Or just shoot an e-mail saying “Hey, I was thinking about you this week, how are things going? What’s new on your end?”

Also, don’t get tricked into thinking that having a contact list (names, phone numbers and e-mails) or a stack of business cards is networking. You have to proactively manage the relationship, and having my business card swimming on your desk does nothing for me.

A Pimpalicious addition:

While we tend to think of one person as being part of our network, another critical factor to remember is that your one person also has a network available to them to help as well. While you may not be able to help your contact directly, it could be that your skills could help someone in their network, strengthening both your relationships.

I wanted to get down to cases with tools and tomorrow we’ll do just that. In the meantime, check out JibberJobber.com and Jason’s JibberJobber blog and we’ll get the next question tomorrow; same time, same place.

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POSTED IN: Cool tools, Cube life, Staying Sane, Strategy, Survival Skills, Worklife Balance, Workplace Wellness

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