Buy yourself a gift…

For those that enjoy “networking”, meeting for coffee with other industry peers, you need to buy yourself one of these this holiday season (disclaimer: I have no direct investment or affiliation with Filed Notes):

field notes

I usually buy them from Amazon, also available at their own website,

The most important part of this post is that in late 2012 someone who asked for my time and advice followed up by sending me a three-pack of these. A year later, I have a catalog of 8 of these, and am never without the handy book.

I rely on technology and try to digitize all of my notes, contacts, and almost everything through Evernotes and other forms. However, when sitting down brainstorming, it is much less intrusive to scribble on this pad and digitize the main points later. I believe they are less intrusive than typing away on a smart phone when meeting someone for coffee.

A huge unexpected benefitis that the pad allows me to be more creative. I find that I allow myself more creative freedoms when taking notes in my discussions on ideas with fellow networkers. In the investment field, we probably need a bit more creativity and less digital note taking. I am still a fan of the productiveness the digital form provides; however, I have been pleasantly surprised by the resourcefulness this small 48 page memo book provided.

Buy yourself a three-pack or try other books.  Also, a great gift to give to colleagues or follow-up your 2014 network meetings. This is a great time of year to try something new.

A big thank you to all who have read and contributed to this blog, I have met and shared ideas with many of you in the past 12 months. I appreciate learning your stories.

Lastly, a few tips for 2014 networking meetings:

1) Offer to pay (if coffee or meal is involved)

2) Have 3 pre-planned questions that you have developed after researching the person you are meeting.

3) Don’t email the person and ask to “get together for coffee” and get some advice. Be different, have something really interesting to discuss. Example, “I hear you were involved with the planning of that panel at the XYZ conference. I read an article regarding the topic you discussed and would like to share my ideas. Can you meet for coffee next week for 20 minutes to discuss? I am available every day between 2-4pm. Thank you.”

4) Don’t start with a discussion on the weather or the latest sports game. (Always difficult for me during football season!)

5) Actively listen and ask questions about that person. Try to have them speak 80% of the time.

6) Keep the discussion to 20 minutes and let them know your time limit before you start talking.

7) Offer to help based on something they said, listen for what  is their main issue/obstacle.

8) Write down the follow-up in your “Field Notes”.

9) Have something very specific to ask them.

10) Put notes into their contact information on your digital database. Keep a log and review at year-end to see who you met with, who you didn’t meet with, and review for outstanding follow-up.

Happy Holidays!