Networking is key to establishing and maintaining both business and personal relationships, but all the contacts in the world aren't worth anything if you can't keep them organized. Follow these tips for managing your contacts.
Choose the right system for you
Back in the day, everyone used a rolodex or spiral address book to manage their contacts. Now, we have a multitude of ways to stay connected with people: smartphones, social networking sites, email and other websites. Everyone has their favorites and you can't use them all. Experiment with different options to find the right management tools for you.
Create groups and favorites
Start with your iPhone, Android or other Smartphone and organize your contacts into groups or favorites. Though an alphabetical listing is a good start, it does nothing to help you text all the people in your book club or everyone you met at a business conference once the contacts are broken down further.
With your iPhone, you can use the Favorites function to set up a group of people that you contact most often. The Contacts app on the iPad is a fantastic option for most people, too. It's easy to sync with Google Contacts, Outlook or whatever other options you have used in the past. Gmail's Contact Manager is an online address book and more. It allows you to create, edit or delete contacts and contact groups, as well as import and export contacts. Most phones, email providers and social networking websites allow you to create groups in one way or another. Google+'s Circles is also a simple way to manage your contacts while social networking and allows you to place people in more than one group.
Many apps were designed to help you connect with groups and keep your contacts organized. Check out some of our favorite apps for staying connected in an efficient and productive manner. Whether you are interested in texting to a whole group or want to create a distribution list, many free apps for your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or other device are available to help you.
Streamline your social networking
Social networking sites like Plaxo Plus can quickly and easily unify all your contacts from multiple websites, services and devices in one location. LinkedIn and most recently Google+ have also become useful for maintaining contact information as well. Every social networking website that you use doesn't have to be your go-to source for all your contacts. It may be more efficient for you to manage all your contacts in one spot, even if you use multiple sites and services for networking.
Purge old contacts
Is your contact list out of hand? Regularly purge out old contacts that you haven't connected with in the last six months. Don't delete them altogether, but instead put them in an archived group that you can pull from at a later date.
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