The Rolodex is officially replaced by LinkedIn in the Burik office!
For those of you too young to remember, a Rolodex is a rotating file. You stick business cards in the proper alphabetical slot and you can access the information pretty easily. It beats sticking the cards in a drawer. These things were really useful in the day. When someone called for information I could just refer to my Rolodex and make a recommendation.
They still sell this organizational device at any office supply store.
I had two Rolodexes on my desk for years. One filled with hundreds of contacts from Chicago and another with hundreds of contacts I made after I moved to Ohio in 1994. I know I am dating myself. But I already blew that by admitting I have two Rolodexes!
I haven’t looked at these old Rolodexes for years. I stumbled over them while cleaning closets this past weekend. It was time to let go of the past. Tossing them makes me realize that networking has always been an important part of my life. These cards represented real people I actually knew.
Today I network even more than I did in the past but I use other tools to stay organized.
I use LinkedIn to collect network connections and Outlook to store connections I access frequently. LinkedIn contact information is integrated with my smartphone so I have up to date email addresses at my finger tips. Plus the entire contact system is searchable. With a Rolodex I had to remember who was connected to a skill or expertise in order to search properly. With an integrated digital system I can search by any term I want and find the right person for the right need.
Networking is a great way to build relationships, find opportunities, learn, and stay connected to the outside world. We still exchange business cards when we network. Business cards have not gone away. The trick is what we do with those cards. Tucking them into a Rolodex or LinkedIn or Outlook file without taking action not networking; it is just a waste.
We have many organizational tools at our fingertips these days. Some people still use Rolodexes.
It is important to use the organizational tool that makes sense for you. More important than the tool you use is what the business cards represent: contacts you meet along the way through successful networking!