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    Networking Mastery: Tracking and Managing Your Professional Connections with Excel

    Networking Mastery: Tracking and Managing Your Professional Connections with Excel

    Whoever said "It's not what you know, but who you know" knew a thing or two about professional success. Networking—making connections, building relationships, and nurturing those relationships—is a vital part of career growth.

    But let's face it, managing all those connections can be a Herculean task. That is where our friend, Microsoft Excel, steps in. In this blog post, we are diving into the power of Excel for networking, ensuring that no connection ever falls through the cracks.

    Why Choose Excel for Networking?

    You're already on board with Excel for so many tasks, why not bring it into the networking fold? Here's what's in it for you:

    • Comfort Zone: Dive into networking tasks with a tool that feels like home. No new tricks to learn, no extra steps – it's the Excel you know and love.

    • Your Rules: Want to see which devices are up to speed? Excel lets you sort and spot issues with a few easy clicks. 

    • Teamwork Flows: Need to get your team on the same page? Send them your Excel file. It's the universal language in office software, making collaboration as easy as a friendly chat.

    • Keep Your Wallet Closed: With Excel, there are no hidden costs or new subscriptions lurking. It's about using what you've got to get the job done well.

      Crafting Your Perfect Networking Spreadsheet

      Here’s a straightforward guide to creating a networking tool that works as hard as you do:

      Step 1: Picking Your Columns

      Picture your networking spreadsheet as your personal directory of professional contacts – a tool that's essential for nurturing your business relationships. Here's how to start:

      • Name: This is personal; it's who you'll address in emails and greet at events.

      • Company & Role: Knowing where someone thrives in their career can pinpoint synergies and opportunities for collaboration.

      • Contact Info: Essential for reaching out. Include emails, phone numbers, and maybe their LinkedIn profiles.

      • Last Contacted: It's the heartbeat of networking. Keep this column updated to maintain a steady rhythm in your professional relationships.

      • Notes: From coffee preferences to project ideas – this column brings context and continuity to your interactions.

      Step 2: Fill in the Magic

      Now, let’s bring this spreadsheet to life:

      • Data Entry: Begin with the names and details you already have. Each entry is like planting a seed in your networking garden.

      • Add Texture With Notes: Maybe 'Met at annual tech conference' or 'Introduced by Julia'. 

      • Update Actively: Just had a coffee meet-up? Add what you learned. An updated spreadsheet is like a well-tended garden, it shows you care and keeps your connections blossoming.

      • Review regularly: Like a quick coffee run, take a moment now and then to scan through your spreadsheet. It’ll jog your memory and might inspire your next move.

      Step 3: Analyze and Act on Your Data

      Your spreadsheet now holds a wealth of information, so let's make the most of it:

      • Categorize Your Contacts: Are they clients, collaborators, mentors, or industry peers? 

      • Set Reminders: Use your spreadsheet to remind you of follow-ups. A column for 'Next Follow-Up' date can be pivotal for keeping the conversation going.

      • Prioritize: Not all contacts will have the same level of influence or importance at all times. You might want a system to mark key contacts—perhaps a simple 'Priority' column with a high, medium, or low indication.

      • Networking Goals: Set specific goals for each contact or group of contacts. What do you want to achieve? Whether it's a job opportunity, a partnership, or just getting advice, knowing your goal keeps you focused.

      • Integrate: Consider integrating your spreadsheet with other tools. Can you link it to your calendar for reminders? Perhaps export a subset of contacts to your phone? Integration helps turn planning into action.

      Unleashing Excel’s Superpowers

      These tools are like your personal assistants, helping you organize your connections, and keep your info spotless.

      Ready to level up? Follow these simple steps:

      Conditional Formatting

      Imagine colors guiding you, highlighting who you might want to reconnect with. 

      For instance, to highlight contacts you haven't reached out to in the last three months:

      • Click on the cell in the 'Last Contacted' column.

      • Go to the 'Home' tab.

      • Click on 'Conditional Formatting'.

      • Choose 'Highlight Cell Rules' and then 'Less Than'.

      • Enter the date that is three months before today's date.

      • Choose a formatting style, like a red fill or bold text, and click 'OK'.

      Now, any contact that you haven't reached out to in over three months will stand out.

      Sort and Filter

      Searching for a friend in tech? Or a contact at your dream company? 

      Here is how:

      • Click on any cell in the column you want to sort by (e.g., 'Company').

      • Go to the 'Data' tab.

      • Use 'Sort A to Z' to sort alphabetically, or 'Sort Z to A' for reverse alphabetical order.

      • To filter, click on the 'Filter' button in the 'Data' tab.

      • Dropdown arrows will appear in the header row.

      • Click the dropdown arrow in the column you wish to filter by and select the criteria (e.g., all contacts from a specific company or industry).

      Data Validation

      Data Validation helps you maintain consistency in your entries, such as ensuring that all dates are entered correctly:

      • Select the cells in the 'Last Contacted' column.
      • Go to the 'Data' tab.
      • Click on 'Data Validation'.
      • In the 'Data Validation' dialog box, select 'Date' from the 'Allow' list.
      • Specify the date range or select 'Date' to ensure the entry is a valid date.
      • Click 'OK'.

      This will prevent you from entering an invalid date, like something in the future or a non-date text entry.

        Linking Excel with LinkedIn: A Simple Guide

        Integrating Excel with LinkedIn can supercharge your networking. Here's a simplified guide to make it easy:

        Export LinkedIn Contacts

        • Sign into LinkedIn, go to 'Settings & Privacy', and find the section for exporting your data.

        • Request a download of your connections—it'll arrive as a CSV file.

        Import Into Excel

        • Open Excel and select 'File' > 'Open'.

        • Choose the CSV file you got from LinkedIn.

        • Follow the Excel prompts—usually, the default settings work fine.

        Organize in Excel

        • Once your contacts are in Excel, you can sort them, add dates for 'Last Contacted', and any specific notes that could help in future interactions.

        Regular Updates

        • After meetings or conversations, update your Excel file.

        • Set calendar reminders based on your 'Last Contacted' dates to keep your networking active.


        Excel might be just a tool, but you are the force driving it. Dive into this networking journey with Excel and discover new opportunities, connections, and successes.

        Ladies, the world of networking awaits. With Excel by your side, you’re set to dazzle.

        Here's to making meaningful connections!

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