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hand on head - b&w

What tasks go into "developing relationships"?

In my Remember the Milk account, my lists generally correspond to the greater goals I have for my life. (I borrowed that concept from Life Balance, actually.) I just changed the name of a list in Remember the Milk from "Reach Out" to "Develop Relationships." Functionally, the tasks that go into the list are basically unchanged, but I think this renaming appeals to me because it reflects a significant shift in my thinking over the past months, which is two-fold:

  1. The nature of the company I started this year lends itself to meeting a lot of people, all the time. (It's a web marketing agency, and the billable work is done almost entirely by freelance and independent talent so that we can fit the right people to the tasks. So I'm always recruiting.) I naturally meet a lot of people that [meta]marketer doesn't have any current work for, but I have been paying attention to when I can make introductions between people who might be able to help each other. So I'm interested in developing relationships between other people. So some of the tasks that go into this list read like "send email introducing so-and-so to so-and-so."

  2. My social networks are growing, and I'm less interested in having a vast collection of people around me that I have no connection to than I am in having at least SOME connection with most of them and always deepening the connections with as many as possible. So I'm interested in developing relationships between myself and others. Some of the tasks that go into this list, then, are things like "Follow up with so-and-so from the mixer the other night."

I also have a daily recurring task that reminds me to check Facebook for birthdays. I really enjoy wishing people a happy birthday, and it means that I can count on at least one interaction with most of the people in my network (some don't list their birthdays) every year. That may not sound like much, but that one birthday wish has often led to messages back and forth catching up a bit and getting to know people I may have only gone to school with or hung out with at a conference.

How do you approach developing relationships? Is it something you just do, or do you have methods of organizing it into your life, as well?


Well, an iPhone helps. *g*

Interesting concept. I currently have so much bleed-through in the various areas of my life that I just tend to let things happen organically. Sometimes it works; sometimes not. Generally, I am very happy with it.

Of course, my work is different. We are a much smaller group, and have been using FB as a way of building a work family, keeping up with each others' lives, etc. FB has really come to define some of the corporate culture at Foster's. We use it to connect to our customers as well: we list the specials, do promotions, have perks (like a free cookie or cup of coffee if you come in and say the word of the day).
Hey, Kate! Did you get the email I sent you a few weeks ago about search engine optimization? I sent it to the honeybowtie address, though.

I think it might be a good idea for me to take you to coffee sometime. I think we might be able to help each other out.
I find it interesting that you do these posts waxing eloquent about social networking, and yet you have so far refused to even ACKNOWLEDGE my emails, my pm and the previous comment.

I don't believe that you have missed all of it. If you want more information about who I am, just ask me. If you don't have the time or inclination to help me, just say so. If I have totally misunderstood what your company does, tell me that, too. But it's rude and hypocritical just to ignore someone.

I guess you just decided that I'm one of those people who can't help you.
It's not at all what you describe. I'm deeply in time debt, and using every means I have to try to dig out of it. I have seen your email and your comment, and I have it on my list of things to do to reply. I should have been able to get to it today, and my message to you would have included a comment to the effect that I'm so sorry I have been so slow to reply.

Your pronouncements of me as rude and hypocritical are lacking in context.
I apologize if I was hurtful or spoke without context. The previous contacts were each WEEKS ago, however. I had no way of knowing that you INTENDED to respond--not even a one-line note promising to get in touch later.

I'm sure you can understand how this post was confusing in light of that.

If the "time debt" is such, then we probably can't help each other.
Your first message, which was indeed weeks ago, was to an address I have filtered to a folder I rarely check. I can't do anything about that; before this exchange, I'd never missed out on anything significant because of filtering that email. Everything else is far more recent.

But yes, I also gather we probably can't help each other.

Best wishes.
hand on head - b&w

February 2011