Modern Rolodex

As a reporter, sources were key to my success. In public relations, it’s all about networking. Either way, business cards are the lifeblood of communicators.

20141029_112515I miss the days of my big round Rolodex. I could spin it and find anyone at my fingertips.

Yes, I know I can store and search for contacts using electronic contacts or LinkedIn. For me, though, there is a difference – I can no longer see the business card. Sometimes I forget the person’s name, but I can clearly recall the logo or image on the business card.

One of my contacts has his image artfully drawn on it. I can forget his name, but I don’t forget the card. Or I’ll recall that you work at Ohio State University, but, again, I can’t remember your name. I spin the Rolodex and suddenly I see the Ohio State logo. I’ve found you.

So without the Rolodex, I’ve struggled. Until recently. That’s when I heard Jill Chappell say, “I get paid for my Rolodex, so it is really important that I know who these people are.”

She calls herself a professional stalker, but in actuality she books interviews for Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

When she files a person’s name and details, she puts a key word under the company name. That key word helps her remember what she needs to know about a person. If she has met a doctor who treated Ebola, she puts the word Ebola in the company name. When she searches for Ebola, the doctor’s name appears. She includes other critical details, including company name, in the notes section.

I’ve totally embraced this idea. Everyone I met at a recent conference is now listed in my contacts under the same company name – that of the conference.

Thanks for a genius idea Jill!

Rolodex Missed as Office Tool

The other day I needed to find someone’s email address. The problem was that I couldn’t remember the person’s name. I could remember meeting her. I could remember exchanging business cards. I could even remember the unique colors of the card.

In the old days, I would simply have twirled my circular Rolodex until I found the uniquely colored business card because I always stapled business cards to the blank cards in the Rolodex. I would then see the person’s name and contact details.

Today, as soon as I receive a business card I enter it into my online contact list. I also add the person to my LinkedIn connections. Sometimes, if I recall the company name, I can search easily for the person. But when I don’t remember the company or the person’s name, I’m forced to scroll slowly through hundreds of contacts.

LinkedIn had a great infographic about five office trends and technologies that are disappearing. One of them was the Rolodex. For the most part, I won’t miss any of the items listed except when I can’t remember the name. Then, I miss the “good ol’ days.”