5 Contact Management Tips To Strengthen Communication

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Remember the Rolodex? It’s gone now, just like the card catalogue, the rotary-dial phone, and the human attention span. But there was a time when the only way to manage contacts was by using one of these:

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It sat on a desk.

It didn’t move, other than to spin in place.

It was ugly.

The Rolodex was perfectly functional when you were at your desk, but what about when you were out and needed to call someone or mail a letter?

While the Rolodex has been reduced to an amusing relic, it served a purpose that is being lost today: contact management.

Make the Most of Your Contacts

Having a list of contacts in your phone, computer, or tablet is useful for far more than just knowing who is calling or whom to send an email to. Contact management applications today allow you to store a wide variety of information for each contact. But to manage your contacts correctly you need to use as many features as possible for each contact in your list. There are a few key areas that can give the biggest results, and by focusing on these areas, your contacts list will be more robust and useful.

Here’s how.

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1. Use Pictures

One of the best features in a mobile contacts list is the picture. While you know what your friends and family look like, remembering who the rep from a company you dealt with two years ago is might not be so easy. By including a picture with every contact in your address book you can not only see who is calling, but you can use it to remember people later. You can take a picture of the person, which can be a little off-putting to some, or you can do tip number 2.

2. Connect to Social Media

The chances that the person you’re adding to your contact list is on Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social media service are pretty high.

By connecting your address book to social media services, you can automatically import contacts’ pictures, personal information, and best of all, keep it up to date with what they publish online.

Along with this syncing of data, you learn new ways to get in touch with the people in your address book. Sometimes a Facebook message is far better than an email.

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You can do this manually for each contact, or you can use a service like Scrubly to do it automatically. Syncing with social media services automatically is best, as it’s far less awkward than asking someone to list all of their accounts to you at once. Along with social media syncing, try tip number 3.

3. Eliminate Duplicate Contacts

As you meet people and get different pieces of contact information, it’s easy to create duplicate contacts for them. Maybe they use a middle name. Maybe you enter an abbreviation. Whatever the case, these have a way of creeping up pretty quickly. A service like Scrubly will look for duplicate contacts and fix them for you automatically. This not only helps thin out your address book, but helps you to see all the information entered for someone at one time, instead of asking for an email address again or giving someone the wrong information. Duplicate contacts can cause confusion and make you look like an amateur.

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4. List Personal Information

Listing someone’s birthday is a great way to strengthen communication. This can be entered manually or synced via social media. However you get it, sending birthday wishes is a great way to let someone know you remember them.

Entering a spouse’s name is great as well, as it helps you remember more about the contact and makes them more than just an entry on your phone. Sending holiday wishes to your contact and his or her spouse by name is a lot better than a generic greeting. If you were building business contacts, you’d be surprised how far this goes for building a relationship.

5. Check For Updates

Don’t be afraid to ask someone when you meet with him or her if any of his or her contact information changed recently. The best way to stay up to date is to go right to the source. This helps you know if he or she changed jobs, moved, or got married/divorced.

Little Actions, Big Rapport

These little actions can strengthen communication as much as learning how to speak in public. Having information saved for people you talk to is one of the best ways to build rapport and to make the people you stay in contact with seem like they are more than just names in a book.

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