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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: applications

Three Services to Help Manage Your Time

Dave Delaney

If you run a small business you know how difficult it can be to keep up. Heck, even if you run a large business or work for one, keeping up can be challenging. The following are three services I use to keep my head from spinning off my neck. Combined, they help me manage my email, calendar and time. They will help you, too.

How to manage your time

1. Outlook

Wow, Outlook has come a long way. This slick app from your friends at Microsoft is the best email app I have found. It has many bells and whistles, but the killer feature for me is the ability to schedule messages to return to my inbox later.

Let's say I get an email today from someone who doesn't need a reply until next week. I simply slide the message to the right to schedule it to return. The default options are: in a few hours; this evening; tomorrow morning; choose a time.

This helps me keep my sanity and my inbox manageable. We all forget to reply to messages from time to time. Outlook reminds me, which is crucial when running your own business.

You can download it for free from your favorite app store. Plus, it works with all email clients.

2. Sunrise

Sunrise is a mobile and desktop application that manages my calendar. When someone wants to have a meeting with me, I open the Sunrise app on my iPhone (available for Android too) and select several dates using their creative keyboard tool. It temporarily turns your keyboard into your calendar.

I simply tap onto several blocks of time in the calendar that I am available. This instantly creates a link that I can include in a text message or email reply.

The recipient clicks the link and is presented with the times I am available. They click the time that works for them, and it is magically booked. I get an email confirmation that the meeting has been set.

You can download this free app from www.sunrise.am

3. Calendly

I reserve chunks of time each week for my coaching clients and for informational coffee chats. I use Calendly to block these times on my calendar.

When you configure Calendly, you tell it when you are available. It syncs with your calendar, so if something else comes up, the time is no longer available. I have a couple of different Calendly calendars, so I send the correct link to my clients, so they can click it to see my calendar and to select a time that is most suitable for them.

When they book a time, I get an email notification. I then use Outlook to set that email to return to my inbox closer to our meeting time, so I can prepare and be ready for our call or coffee.

While Sunrise is better for on-the-fly scheduling, Calendly syncs with my calendar to show people when I am available on certain days. All I need to do is send them the specific link to my calendar and they can go ahead and book what works best for them.

You can set up your account at Calendly.com.

These three services help keep my busy life sane. The more time I save, the more I can focus it on serving my clients and preparing for new speaking engagements. I hope these help you, too.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper. Photo by By Rodion Kutsaev from Unsplash.

Refresh: The Ice Breaker App

Dave Delaney

Refresh app
Refresh app

UPDATE: Don't miss my interview with Refresh Co-founder and CEO, Bhavin Shaw. A quick Google search for "business networking apps" revealed 818,000 results! It's clear that busy, business people are seeking ways to network more effectively with their mobile devices. Besides LinkedIn's own apps that improve networking, I have come across one that really stands out, Refresh.

Refresh is an app unlike any other, because it provides you with enough details about a person to start a conversation. It is the ultimate ice-breaker tool!

By installing the app and giving it access to your social networking profiles and address book, it quickly learns details about everyone you know (and even those you don't know). Sync it with your calendar, and Refresh will send you a dossier using it's "insight engine" before your next meeting.

Let's say I have a meeting scheduled with the Tennessean's very own Lance Williams tomorrow. I can expect an email alert to be sent from Refresh today. I ran this as a test, and the email I received included the following information.

  • Lance has been working at the Tennessean for a little over one year. It includes other businesses where Lance has worked and provides me with additional details.
  • Who Lance's significant other is.
  • His birthday is April 10th, and he shares it with celebrity, Shay Mitchell. He also shares it with three of my contacts.
  • It includes politicians Lance follows, which gives me insight into his likely political party of choice. Never assume anything though.
  • He attended the University of Kentucky.
  • His LinkedIn summary says he has more than a decade of professional journalism experience as both a reporter and an editor. His current emphasis is on business journalism, but he has experience with criminal justice, governmental issues, and public reporting.
  • He lives in Tennessee and has also lived in Kentucky and Ohio.
  • It provides me with news articles Lance was mentioned in.
  • Refresh says, "Ask Lance about this (Facebook) status post, "So, University of Kentucky basketball fans, I was editing a business story and came across the best engineering firm name in history Anderson Deik Epps, & Associates".
  • Refresh also suggests I ask Lance about his check-in at the Nashville Sounds where he said, "Guess which girl is bored with baseball already."
  • I can see my first and most recent email correspondences with Lance.
  • It shows me 27 contacts that Lance and I both have in common.
  • It shares "Moments", which include popular Twitter tweets from Lance.
  • Refresh provides me with plenty of sports topics Lance has shared on social networks.
  • I can see photos Lance has shared recently.
  • The app also includes links to each of Lance's social networking profiles.

"Well, this sounds a little invasive."

I know what you may be thinking, "Well, this sounds a little invasive." It's not. All of the information gathered has been shared publicly by the person, and it is extremely valuable.

What if Lance was a potential client? Wouldn't I want to know as much about him as possible before our meeting? Refresh's meeting dossier provides enough information for me to make a comfortable icebreaker. The first chapter of my book, New Business Networking, is all about doing your homework first. C-level executives and politicians have always received meeting dossiers, now we can have them too.

The company has recently developed an app for Google Glass, so you will receive the information as you are looking at the person. Straight away, I picture Terminator looking for Sarah Connor in the 1984 classic film. At least this time, no tragic mistakes will occur.

According to a TechCrunch article by Ryan Lawler, Refresh has seven employees with experience from companies like LinkedIn, Google, and Microsoft. They have recently received 10 million in funding from Redpoint Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Foundation Capital; so expect Refresh to stick around.

Taking the time to get to know a person before you meet is a great way to kick-start your conversation. It can also earn you the respect of the person you're meeting with, because they will be impressed that you took the time to do some research. Little will they know that it was all thanks to a single app.

Refresh promises to put an end to small talk. It is available for free for iPhone, iPad, and Google Glass. An Android version is coming soon. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

This article, “Refresh app is ultimate icebreaker“, originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper.

Wannado. How iPhone Apps Can Help With Networking.

Dave Delaney

Steven BuhrmanI first met Steven Buhrman from my work with the popular Nashville business accelerator, Jumpstart Foundry. He has been tirelessly working for the last year on his events app, Wannado. I finally got to give Wannado a test drive recently and I'm very impressed. This blog is all about the intersection between traditional business networking and how technology enhances our efforts in building relationships.

Steven has built a wonderful app, Wannado, to help us find local events to meet new people and to grow our business networks.

D. Who are you what do you do?

S. My name is Steven Buhrman. Like many Nashvillians, I'm a proud transplant. I moved here from Northern California about a year and a half ago and quickly found a home in Nashville's growing tech & start-up scene. Since moving here, I've been working with folks throughout the community to create Wannado.

Wannado AppD. What is Wannado?

S. Wannado is an iPhone app that let's us discover Nashville's best events and experiences from the vantage of our personal interests.  Kind of like "Pandora" or "Spotify" but for local happenings.  The app lets us tune in to the stuff we care about, and tune out the rest.  It's also a streamlined way to keep up with what local guides and Facebook friends "wannado". The goal is to end the days of saying, "I wish I knew about that", whether that's a live show, a chance to do good in the community, or a career opportunity.

The key is to leverage the power of mobile technology to feed real world relationships and create new opportunities for ourselves.

D. How does it improve business networking objectives?

S. Wannado's "Work & Network" channels allow us to tune into the local business networking events that matter to us personally. So for instance, I'm a tech entrepreneur, so Wannado feeds me recommendations for all the start-up, geek & techie events in Nashville.  I also use Wannado to follow local tech gurus like Mark Montgomery, Chris McIntyre, Marcus Whitney...and yes, even Dave Delaney! So I'll never miss another Geek Breakfast or Nashcocktail because I didn't know about it...

D. In your opinion, how do mobile applications in general help networking?

S. Our lives are more mobile and transient than ever, so I think the key is to leverage the power of mobile technology to feed real world relationships and create new opportunities for ourselves.  I'm a bit idealistic on this point, because I believe that opportunity is everywhere.  The problem is we can't always see it because the marketplace is crowded and events are fleeting. Mobile apps can help us capture these moments and make the most of them.  That's our mission at Wannado - to make opportunities visible to the right people at the right time.

D. Which other apps would you recommend a savvy networking person use?

S. I'm a big fan of "Sparrow" which is basically a $1.99 upgrade for your native iOS Email app.  I also recommend "Alfred" as a super smart way to browse local bars and restaurants based on your interests.

Thanks Steven.

Now it's your turn

Which apps do you use to enhance your networking efforts?