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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 August 16, 2018

            10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

            10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

            When you try to think of a leader at your place of work, you might think of your boss – you know, the supervisor in the tasteful office down the hall.

            However, bosses are not the only leaders in the office, and not every boss has mastered the art of excellent leadership. Maybe the best leader you know is the co-worker sitting at the desk next to yours who is always willing to loan out her stapler and help you problem solve.

            You see, a boss’ main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

            A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

            Puzzled about what it takes to be a great leader? Let’s take a look at the difference between a boss and a leader, and why cultivating quality leadership skills is essential for people who really want to make a positive impact.

            1. Leaders are compassionate human beings; bosses are cold.

            It can be easy to equate professionalism with robot-like impersonal behavior. Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff.

            Even if your schedule is packed, you should always make time to reach out to the people around you. Remember that when you ask someone to share how they are feeling, you should be prepared to be vulnerable and open in your communication as well.

            Does acting human at the office sound silly? It’s not.

            A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.[1]

            If people feel that you are being open, honest and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

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            2. Leaders say “we”; bosses say “I”.

            Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking. In meetings, talk about trying to meet deadlines as a team instead of using accusatory “you” phrases. This makes it clear that you are a part of the team, too, and that you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

            Let me explain:

            A “we” mentality shifts the office dynamic from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment.

            A “we” mentality allows for the accountability and community that is essential in the modern day workplace.

            3. Leaders develop and invest in people; bosses use people.

            Unfortunately, many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder. This is another example of the “me first” mentality that is so toxic in both office environments and personal relationships.

            Instead of using others or focusing on your needs, think about how you can help other people grow.

            Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

            Make a list of ways you can invest in your team members to help them develop personally and professionally, and then take action!

            4. Leaders respect people; bosses are fear-mongering.

            Earning respect from everyone on your team will take time and commitment, but the rewards are worth every ounce of effort.

            A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior. Employees who are petrified about their performance or who feel overwhelmed and stressed by unfair deadlines are probably working for a boss who uses a fear system instead of a respect system.

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            What’s the bottom line?

            Work to build respect among your team by treating everyone with fairness and kindness. Maintain a positive tone and stay reliable for those who approach you for help.

            5. Leaders give credit where it’s due; bosses only take credits.

            Looking for specific ways to gain respect from your colleagues and employees? There is no better place to start than with the simple act of giving credit where it is due.

            Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

            You might be wondering how you can get started:

            • Begin by simply noticing which team member contributes what during your next project at work.
            • If possible, make mental notes. Remember that these notes should not be about ways in which team members are failing, but about ways in which they are excelling.
            • Depending on your leadership style, let people know how well they are doing either in private one-on-one meetings or in a group setting. Be honest and generous in your communication about a person’s performance.

            6. Leaders see delegation as their best friend; bosses see it as an enemy.

            If delegation is a leader’s best friend, then micromanagement is the enemy.

            Delegation equates to trust and micromanagement equates to distrust. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than feeling that his or her every movement is being critically observed.

            Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed!

            Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.[2]

            In other words, if you truly believe that your team member can handle a project or task, he or she is more likely to deliver.

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            Learn how to delegate in my other article:

            How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

            7. Leaders work hard; bosses let others do the work.

            Delegation is not an excuse to get out of hard work. Instead of telling people to go accomplish the hardest work alone, make it clear that you are willing to pitch in and help with the hardest work of all when the need arises.

            Here’s the deal:

            Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness.

            The next time you catch yourself telling someone to “go”, a.k.a accomplish a difficult task alone, change your phrasing to “let’s go”, showing that you are totally willing to help and support.

            8. Leaders think long-term; bosses think short-term.

            A leader who only utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future. Your colleagues or staff members need to know that they can trust you to have a handle on things not just this week, but next month or even next year.

            Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. Create plans for possible scenarios and be prepared for emergencies.

            For example, if you know that you are losing someone on your team in a few months, be prepared to share a clear plan of how you and the remaining team members can best handle the change and workload until someone new is hired.

            9. Leaders are like your colleagues; bosses are just bosses.

            Another word for colleague is collaborator. Make sure your team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

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            Not getting involved in the going ons of the office is a mistake because you will miss out on development and connection opportunities.

            As our regular readers know, I love to remind people of the importance of building routines into each day. Create a routine that encourages you to leave your isolated office and collaborate with others. Spark healthy habits that benefit both you and your co-workers.

            10. Leaders put people first; bosses put results first.

            Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. They may stick to a pre-set systems playbook even when employees voice new ideas or concerns.

            Ignoring people’s opinions for the sake of company tradition like this is never truly beneficial to an organization.

            Here’s what I mean by process over people:

            Some organizations focus on proper structures or systems as their greatest assets instead of people. I believe that people lend real value to an organization, and that focusing on the development of people is a key ingredient for success in leadership.

            Learning to be a leader is an ongoing adventure.

            This list of differences makes it clear that, unlike an ordinary boss, a leader is able to be compassionate, inclusive, generous, and hard-working for the good of the team.

            Instead of being a stereotypical scary or micromanaging-obsessed boss, a quality leader is able to establish an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

            Whether you are new to your work environment or a seasoned administrator, these leadership traits will help you get a jump start so that you can excel as a leader and positively impact the people around you.

            For more inspiration and guidance, you can even start keeping tabs on some of the world’s top leadership experts. With an adventurous and positive attitude, anyone can learn good leadership.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Reference

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