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7 Tools and Apps for Managing Your Professional Network

7 Tools and Apps for Managing Your Professional Network

For anyone in a relationship-intensive business, managing professional contacts is extremely important, and can be quite time consuming. The below tools and apps help make managing your professional network more efficient and effective.

1. Rapportive

Rapportive

    Rapportive is a plug-in for Gmail that provides rich contact profiles right in your inbox. Rapportive has a number of benefits. First, it adds color to the generally very dry task of sending and receiving e-mails. Second, it makes it easier for you to research people you’re talking to by providing you with links to all of their social profiles. Third, it helps you find e-mail addresses of people you want to cold e-mail. If you have their e-mail address correct, it will display their profile.

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    2. Yesware

    Yesware

      The primary benefits of Yesware are e-mail tracking and e-mail templating. Yesware tracks the e-mails you send and reports who opened your e-mails, when they opened them, and what links they clicked on. E-mail templates drastically reduce the time you spend sending e-mails. Templates are especially valuable for e-mails you’re sending to multiple people, such as sales e-mails, update e-mails, and general network or pipeline management e-mails.

      3. Doodle

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      Doodle

        Scheduling meetings between busy people can be quite tedious and time consuming, often involving several e-mails back and forth trying to find mutual availability. Doodle streamlines scheduling by providing users with a personal page that displays times at which the user is busy and available. It automatically pulls data from calendars that are synced to it, but respects users’ privacy by only displaying “busy,” instead of displaying the name of the event listed in a user’s calendar. Instead of exchanging several e-mails back and forth to find mutual availability, send your Doodle page, and have your buddy pick a time-slot and add an appointment to your calendar directly from your page.

        4. PrepWork

        Prior to meeting with someone, it’s very important to research the person to find appropriate talking points and avoid wasting their time by asking questions that you can get answers to by searching online. People appreciate when it’s clear that you’ve effectively prepared for the meeting. It can also surface some talking points that you may not have known about, such as past companies they’ve been with, or shared interests outside of work. PrepWork sends you briefing e-mails each morning for each person’s e-mail address stored in an event you have on your calendar for that day.

        5. Job Change Alerts

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        Job Change Alerts

          Job Change Alerts sends you daily e-mail alerts on position and headline changes by your LinkedIn contacts. Building and maintaining professional relationships requires consistent and repeat communication. Learning about someone changing jobs or roles gives a great reason to reconnect with someone by congratulating them.

          6. Newsle

          Newsle

            Newsle sends you e-mails every time your connections are in the press. Newsle is a great way to keep up with what your contacts are doing and gives you a great reason to send someone an e-mail. You could even go the extra mile by sharing the article they were covered in via your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn page. Promoting your contacts’ work is a great way to be helpful, which is an excellent way to build professional relationships.

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            7. Followup.cc

            Followup.cc helps you avoid forgetting to follow up and stay in touch with people. To build a relationship with someone you need to do more than just meet them once. You need to have repeated contact. Followup.cc allows you to get reminders sent to you as e-mails by sending e-mails to any date, time, or duration of time. For example, putting the address august18@followup.cc in the to, cc, or bcc fields will return the thread to your inbox on August 18. When an e-mail conversation with an important contact comes to an end, I send the thread to 1month@followup.cc to get a reminder to re-connect with the person in one month. When sending e-mails that have action required, I blind copy the appropriate time interval to get reminded to follow up. Keep reminders and to-dos out of your head and off of a list that you have to reference back to, and get them in your inbox where they will be at the center of your attention.

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            Last Updated on December 10, 2019

            7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

            7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

            Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

            But do you know what motivates your people?

            It’s simple:

            • Is their work stimulating?
            • Does it challenge them?
            • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
            • Do you encourage creativity?
            • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
            • Do you praise them?
            • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
            • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
            • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

            Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

            In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

            Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

            These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

            1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

            You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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            But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

            If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

            Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

            2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

            There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

            In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

            So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

            Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

            • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
            • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
            • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
            • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

            So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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            3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

            Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

            When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

            Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

            So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

            4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

            Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

            Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

            Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

            Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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            5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

            Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

            Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

            A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

            Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

            If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

            6. Monitor Their Workload

            Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

            What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

            • Red means they’re fully loaded.
            • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
            • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

            I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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            If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

            And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

            7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

            Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

            So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

            The Bottom Line

            A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

            Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

            More to Motivate Your Team

            Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

            Reference

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