You have it. I have it. That ever-changing contact list. Regardless of what tool or app you use, names and contact info keeps changing.
Besides just keeping up with new emails, phone numbers and account info, what about the quality of those contacts? Have you checked that lately?
[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe” width=”90″]I believe you can never have too much quality in your contact list.[/shareable]
With so much social media impact, we can get inundated with contact requests. Some are gems. Some are good. Some are, well, you fill in the blank.
Even if a name pops up that you value highly today, will that contact remain high on your list as time goes by? What can you do to maintain the relationship in a way that keeps the contact alive in your world.
In my humble opinion, there are three major dimensions from which we should view our contacts. They are simply up, down, and across or out. I see it as a three dimensional picture.
UPWARD – These are the contacts with status and stature you seek to gain. These can be keynote people, leaders, executives, or just friends who hold higher places in the scheme of things. You have to be the judge. In this group I include people I value as mentors, whether they know that or not.
The approach to keeping these contacts warm is tough. They may be far busier or more deeply committed to effort in directions away from your interest. They may have to make some tough cuts on their list. You might be that one to get cut.
Staying in their attention span takes honest, sometimes creative effort. Depending upon the value you attribute to their role on your contact list, you might just write a note to say so. I know snail mail is old fashioned, but it remains one of the best ways to communicate such sincerity.
DOWNWARD – I don’t mean this to be condescending at all. It is merely the opposite of the upward contacts. The roles are just reversed. For me, the challenge is deciding which one of these folks may be valuable as a growth contact.
Growth includes sharing ideas, inspiration, and opinion. I think the right rule of the road for this group is simply remembering “do unto others”. You are somebody’s downward contact. How do you want them treating you?
And the other question here is whether this person needs my assistance. Could what I am doing help this person? If so, yes, keep the contact alive.
ACROSS or OUTWARD – I suggest to you this is the group where your true friends reside. There is no longer a sense of up or down in the relationship. You are peers because you have agreed so.
Just like the study of circles of influence, the ones closest to you have the most relevance and significance. Then there will be an outer circle of people you may know because of business or community.
Beyond that is a circle of connections that likely need work, one way or another.
WHEW – Now to the task of managing all this!
Question: What is your approach to keeping lists fresh and relevant?