Building a Network

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Why do I need a professional network?
  • Who should be in my professional network?
  • How do I maintain my professional network?

If you're a manager, don't think for a moment that someone else is managing your career. Those days are long gone. YOU are managing your career. What you do - not only in job skills, but also in what we call "Transition Skills" - will be the primary determinant of your career success. You're not going to have the richest, most rewarding series of roles and opportunities by allowing someone in HR to know enough about you to get you where you need to be. And succession planning won't save you either.

And one of the most important of the Transition Skills is Building And Maintaining Your Network. Most people are terrible at it. We know this because they have no network.

Now, notice that we did NOT say that the skill was "networking". That term conjures up schmoozing, and cocktail parties, and too many people don't like it. So, we're not suggesting you do that.

We're suggesting you Build and Maintain Your Network. It only takes THREE SIMPLE SKILLS, and we'll walk through them.

Oh, yeah ... and there's a blooper in the show. Did you catch it?

  [Play in Popup]

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Great show. Very timely for me. I

Great show. Very timely for me. I wanted to see what you guys thought of services like LinkedIn or other professional/social network sites (ryze,, friendster, etc.) for building and maintaining a network?

In various shows and in the comments

In various shows and in the comments you refer to Horstman's laws. Do you have Horstman's laws in written format or will we have to wait for the book?

Thanks again for all the great podcasts. ooh, it's May. I have to go vote! Thanks guys.

Mark Polino

"Never Eat Alone - And Other Secrets to

"Never Eat Alone - And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time" by Keith Ferrazzi is excellent book about network.

Mark- We're preparing to make


We're preparing to make Horstman's Laws available to all registered members. It will be digital (though we do have hard copies). We'll be announcing the "how" of it soon... ;-)

Thanks for voting!


Mark- Just read your comment on


Just read your comment on Podcast Alley - that rocks! Thank you sir.


blooper... it's May 9th, 2005. Great

it's May 9th, 2005.
Great podcast guys!
Nothing like getting great management tips on your way to work. Gives you a chance to start your day with a goal in mind.

After listening to your last podcast, I

After listening to your last podcast, I ctrl-shift-k'd a reminder to vote in Podcast Alley. Thanks for the shortcut tip and all of the other great info you guys provide.

its 2006 dummy!!!! (listen to your

its 2006 dummy!!!! (listen to your intro) the show, i'm a 29 year old construction manager from northern ireland, trying valiantly to introduce a number of your principles at grass roots level. keep it up! metal!!!

Here's a tip for Lotus Notes

Here's a tip for Lotus Notes Users-

It only works for when you have an email open that you received from someone else.

When you are in the email, hit ALT-a, then type i, then type t.

A To-Do task is created includes in its documenation section the entire email along with any attachments and doc-links.

Steveole- SWEET! Ctrl-Shift-K has


SWEET! Ctrl-Shift-K has kept my firm's marketing budget at ZERO. I just stay in touch with people, and clients happen.

It's a privilege to serve you.


I found the network building episode

I found the network building episode great. I have a questioon that relates to the internal network and levels.
Example I am a mid level manager, that occasionally attends meeting with or gives presentations to the Chairman - CEO, CFO, CIO, COO... people way out of my league power wise. We are on a first name basis, even though I am not usually comfortable with it. Should I be dropping them an e-mail every three to six months?

Outlook tip: cntrl-shft-K -- The

Outlook tip:

cntrl-shft-K -- The "Due date:" field defaults to "None". Outlook understands if you type in words other than dates. For example, if you type "tomorrow", the field will change to the next day. It also understands "next week", "2 months", "100 years", "120 days", "yesterday", etc.

It doesn't understand "quarters" though.

Perhaps we should file this one under

Perhaps we should file this one under "To each his own". For myself, I find that if I use the Task function in Outlook, the task I set myself as a reminder to contact someone two months from now, is visible on my screen every day. Moreover, it's mixed in with the day-to-day tasks I’ve set for myself. I prefer to set a recurring appointment. If I set the appointment for 1:00AM, it never interferes with daily meetings. And if I set the "Show time as" field to Free then it also doesn't interfere with any multi-day events I might schedule. The reminder is set, but it's completely out of sight until the appropriate day & time.

Hey guys, What a great podcast. I

Hey guys,

What a great podcast. I have listened to this one twice. I am currently beginning a mentorship within my organization with the intention of moving of the "food chain" so to speak. Today my mentor suggested just this item and I couldn't help but boast that I had heard this, and currently and continually building my network. It's amazing that over 10 years, how many people you meet and add to your network. I have people in my network from the East Coast to the West, North to South.

Problem: I did try the Ctrl+Shift+K, but I have Outlook Express6 and it doesn't seem to work. Any other ideas?

Thanks and keep up the strong work.


barlettam2- Glad you're getting


Glad you're getting value out of our work. That's why we do it!

First of all, that first name issue you have is hurting you. I encourage you to work through that. If they're comfortable with it, and you're not, it's making them note your lack of ability to relate to them normally - and so they'll assume you'd be that way with customers, etc.

Including those execs is completely reasonable and I would do so. I would put an extra premium on my mails - perhaps looking for something to include that would be cogent and helpful.

And REMEMBER: if you SEE them every quarter or so, you needn't contact them ON TOP OF that interaction. The reminder is there to bring them to your consciousness in case you HAVEN'T had contact. If you have, you can check off the task as completed.

Good luck!


Mantone- You ROCK! I've looked for


You ROCK! I've looked for a workaround for that field forEVER. Many thanks!

You wouldn't happen to know how, without touching the mouse, to check and uncheck the reminder box, would you?

Made my (technology) day!


Steve- I don't see you as


I don't see you as 'disagreeing', but rather just accomplishing the goal differently. Ctrl Shift K is just a simplistic way to help people adopt the concept of regular contacts... but it sounds like you have a way that works for you, and if it gets you contact time with them, don't change.

I found that appointments don't work for me because if I don't do them, they don't carry over. What's more, if you right click in a blank spot of the Task Pad area (sometimes you have to go all the way to the bottom) and then highlight Task Pad View, you can choose to have Outlook show you active tasks, tasks due on the days you have selected, or tasks for the next seven days, etc. That helps me. And, sometimes the issue you mention is a function of not giving a task a start date, only an end date. If one does that, it's always active...

Anyway, do whatever works to keep you in contact with people. No disagreement with you there!


Great show! Very timely for me.... just

Great show! Very timely for me.... just loved it. I am a new listener to your podcasts from India. Crtl-Sht-K added for your show :)

Amit- Thanks for the kind words!


Thanks for the kind words! Glad you're getting value out of our work.

Do stay in touch!


"You wouldn’t happen to know

"You wouldn’t happen to know how, without touching the mouse, to check and uncheck the reminder box, would you?"

Mark - on Outlook 2003, that's "ALT-R".



Gary- Yee-HAW!!!! As you might


Yee-HAW!!!! As you might imagine, I have LOTS of appointments, and lots of changes... and this is a regular irritant.

I bow to thee, sir.


You're welcome. A word of caution -

You're welcome. A word of caution - I've been playing with the Outlook 2007 Beta, and it doesn't look like this particular shortcut is still possible. The field has been moved out of the "time" part of the form, and up in to the new "ribbon". Doesn't affect anyone now, but may be a consideration in the upgrade process down the road.



Gary- Ahh, well. I once told


Ahh, well. I once told someone, while pointing at OUTLOOK but talking about windows and OS's, "THAT is my operating system." I could end up at Google if their calendar was better...but for now, they've got me.

I've even learned to hive off (not archive) parts of my pst so it's less than 500MB. Once, it was 1.5 gigs, and unstable. 2 gigs, and Outlook just DIES.

Thanks again!


I am getting incresingly disappointed

I am getting incresingly disappointed with my company due to the fact that I feel it does not try to meet our international customers expectations (Actually my colleagues are the ones who don't want to do what is needed).
At the moment I am not a manager (I will become a manager!) and my tasks cover neither marketing nor technical responsabilities thus I don't have the power to make any change at all.
I only told my boss and the marketing department to see whether it is possible to do something.
I will continue to be paid all the same, with or without my personal interess in customers' complains.

How can I cope with this emotional state? I think this emotion of pride and of defense of my company name should be somehow useful... but I learnt that only behavior is important not ideas so I want to point out that my continue feedback on this subject is not very well welcomed by others.

What shall I do?

[...] But I was disappointed when I

[...] But I was disappointed when I heard this. “Drat,” I thought, “they beat me to it.” But while they were talking about it, another podcast sprung to my mind: Manager Tools. I thought, “Aha! I’ll take the Inside PR podcast and this other podcast and write a post about networking using both examples.” I was feeling pretty good about myself. Manager Tools is a great podcast. It really doesn’t have much to do with PR, per se, but it’s a great resource for working in the business world and has some really great tips. For instance, I listened - surprisingly - to the entire 45-minute podcast on The Secret to a Great Handshake (4/17/06). Forty-five minutes! It was fascinating! Well, just recently the gentlemen at Manager Tools had a fantastic show on Building a Network (5/9/06), which dovetails into the world of PR so very nicely. Whether you’re looking for a job or developing relationships with members of your key publics, this podcast is a must listen. [...]

Any advice on doing this via one's

Any advice on doing this via one's personal email/address book vs. one's corporate account?

Either's fine as long as you back up a

Either's fine as long as you back up a corporate one quarterly so you have it somewhere besides work in case you leave on short notice and/or there are storage restrictions imposed that limit you.


Mark / Mike, Another great podcast.

Mark / Mike,

Another great podcast. I have been doing a lot of this already, though as you suggest, don’t do it with the intention to gain, it is just a part of my nature - my husband is amazed at the number of uni friends I still see on a regular basis, and I am still in contact with school friends, not so regular, but still ongoing.

I had felt rather guilty for spending $0 on my marketing & advertising, I don't feel so guilty now :)

A few weeks ago I gave a talk to a group of 11 years olds at school about how to run a business, as part of their BUSY KIDZ project. I stressed to them several times, that they should get their friends parents contact details, so that they could stay in contact, and revisit the relationship, when they get older.

I have a story that fits in nicely with your network podcast. Recently here in Australia, we had elections, and I stood at a polling booth for 6 hours, with my KEVIN07 hat and t-shirt on, handing out how to vote cards for Kevin Rudd. I stood alongside the Liberal guy, and the Greens guy handing out their how to vote cards. We are so lucky to live in a democracy where we have the opportunity to vote, so I am always in a great mood on election day. I chatted non-stop with the Liberal guy, and we found we had a lot in common. He contacted me the following week, and invited me to a function, a professional speakers function, and he spent hours taking me around the room and introducing me to everyone there. As you suggested in the Development Challenge 2006, we should aim to learn one skill in the next year, and the skill I was aiming to learn in 2008 is professional speaking. All the stars aligned, and through some effortless networking, I have been catapulted forwards towards my goal 


Usuful software for storing contact info?

What a great cast, I just listened to it again! So far I used Outlook to safe contact info. Now, I changed from job and email client (Novell Groupwise). Because I may change jobs within a couple of years, I was thinking whether it makes sense to get my own software for this purpose and which I simply can take with me when moving elsewhere. It would be great if it has somekind of Crtl-Sht-K feature. Any suggestions from your side?

Thanks for sharing!

Job search without a network in place

Hi, this was a very interesting podcast. My question is this: It sounds very doable if you are not urgently looking for a job, but what if you need to find a job rather soon and you have not done any network building in the past? Is it rude to contact people who you have not been in touch with an let them know you are looking for a job and would like help?

Hide tasks from the future

I found myself exactly in Steve Lane's dilemma. After some research I found out that the tasks with "start date" in the future can be hidden in Outlook adding some filters. More details here:

To the show: Thanks guys very very much for these podcasts. Just got promoted to being a manager in October, I've had some management training a few years ago, but it was not practical enough for me, so it didn't do much with me.

This podcast is easily the most influential thing this year. I can turn to topics that bug me at the moment and can implement these strategies in the same week. That proves to be very powerful.

Holds up fine

Really good podcast that after 7 years still feels very relevant. The point is, I think, that whether you are self-employed or an employee, a job market gambler - enarmade banditer -  it's up to you and no one else to create your own success in the labor market. Don't leave your success up to gamble or destiny - you can create your own bright future!