I had a wonderful coffee-less coffee with my good friend Debra Power today. She’s the President and founder of Power Marketing and Research. She also serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce and is one of the Co-Founders of the Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw.

So, she’s not busy at all.

You don’t get to serve in all of the capacities that she has without developing a fairly strong network — OK, a very strong network. So, I asked her about her tips and techniques for good networking.

Technique: Organize the contacts. With all of the meetings and events she gets to attend, Debra picks up the occasional business card or three. She maintains a number of neat piles on her desk. The first is to contact immediately. The second is to contact within the next week or so. The third is for scheduling coffees and lunches. The final pile is for long-term reference. Obviously to maintain these piles in a useful state she has to comb through them regularly. So…

Tip: Set a regular date. Debra intentionally keeps Monday clear of all but extreme emergency meetings. This is the time she uses to process these piles of cards. She calls or emails people, sets her appointments, and I’m sure does the occasional purge of the files, er, I mean, piles. By setting the once-a-week date with herself, she never has to worry about something slipping through the cracks.

And when you’ve got that many irons in the fire, letting things slip is just about the last thing you need.

See the Personal Networking Series.