Recently, a close friend and business associate had an idea that he wanted to discuss with me. However, he was unable to call me.
After a day or two, he finally emailed asking me to give him a ring.
When we finally connected, I asked him why he didn’t simply call me.
He responded, “I lost your phone number. It was in my other email and I couldn’t find it.”
Huh? Really, he lost my number?
Does this still happen in the Internet age? Yes, more than you think.
The Power of Phone Numbers
In this example, my friend was unable to reach me about a simple business idea. What if it had been something more urgent?
The strange part is that we don’t memorize phone numbers any more. We used to, but now we expect them to be at our fingertips on our cell phones.
If you lost your phone, would you have the numbers you need? Can you recite your family members #’s without looking them up? Many people cannot.
Ironically, the Internet is great at giving me the phone number to a local restaurant, but not so good at looking up the cell number of the client I spoke to last month.
While technology has made it easier for us locate some phone numbers, an address book is still a vital part of any time management system.
Here are some of my favorite tips for getting the most out of your address book:
TMN’s Address Book Tips
- One Address Book – My friend fell victim to the fact that he was keeping contact information in multiple places. Keep one address book for all your contacts. You can sync it across your computer, the web, and your phone, so that you always have it available.
- Always Capture – Always, always, always capture phone numbers when you have the chance. You never know when you will need a particular number again. If someone calls me from their cell, I am quick to add it to their profile in my address book. I never know when I might need to reach them.
- Where Is Your Backup? – Once upon a time, if you lost your cell phone, you lost all the numbers in it. However, these days it is pretty easy to backup your cell phone’s address book. If you are not regularly syncing your device, you are putting your information at risk. Your address book is valuable, make sure you back it up regularly.
Many people underestimate the power of the address book. But, it can be a powerful tool in your time management efforts. Here are just a few ways your address book can serve you:
The Power of Your Address Book
- Saves times from Searching – Are you always searching for a missing phone number? Being disciplined about capturing phone numbers saves you time when you need that number again. Most phone numbers that people look up are ones that they have looked up before!
- Opens Opportunities – You never know when a simple phone number will open an opportunity for you. On a business trip, I unexpectedly arrived in a city several hours ahead of schedule. I would have spent the time doing miscellaneous tasks. However, I happened to have captured the cell phone number of one of the client VP’s I was meeting with later in the day. With a quick call, I suddenly had a lunch appointment with this VP. It made the entire client engagement go smoother.
- Know Who is Calling – Why hasn’t CallerId made it to the cell phone world? I don’t know. How many times have you looked at your ringing cell phone and asked, “Where is area code ____? Who is this calling?” Yet, the simple answer to this issue is to have the # in your address book on your phone, so that it will come up with the person’s name. I keep my entire address book on my cell phone just for this reason. A few weeks ago, a colleague I had not spoken to in four years called me. His # was in my address book and when he rang, his name came right up on my cell. He fell out of his chair when I answered the phone, “Hi Jerry, it’s been a while. How have you been?”
Keep Phone Numbers at Your Call
Discipline keeping an address book is an important skill. Ensure that you maintain your address book and back it up regularly.
The next time you encounter a phone number that you may need again, make sure you are quick to capture it. You never know when it may open the door to a future opportunity.
Do you capture phone numbers? What are your best address book tips?