It always surprises me when someone asks me for my address even though this person has been to my house before. Everyone has a way of capturing contact information, don’t they? It may be in electronic form, or it may be in a physical address book. So why would someone have to ask me for my address again?
I think it’s because it is just not a habit for most people to retain contact information beyond its initial usefulness. But it’s really worth it, as it will save time later.
I’ve previously written about the importance of moving the data from business cards into your contacts system so that it becomes actionable. (See Business Cards: Information or Clutter?). Think about doing the same with contact information that comes into your life via other modes.
Anytime someone passes me a bit of contact information, it goes directly into my Outlook address book (which synchronizes with my iPhone).
The easiest occurrence is when someone includes an address or phone number in an e-mail. It may be in the signature line, or it may be mentioned in the body of the e-mail itself. It’s easy to copy and paste this into your contacts system. While you are at it, add the e-mail address to the contact. It will save you a lot of trouble if you want to e-mail this person some other time.
When someone tells you their address or phone number over the telephone, chances are you are going to write it down somewhere. If it’s important enough to write down (even just temporarily), it’s important enough to capture in your system. Pieces of paper are easily misplaced.
If someone leaves me a voice message, I pull up their contact information while I am listening to the message. If the phone number they recite is the same one as the one I already have, I don’t need to write it down again (and risk writing it down incorrectly). If it’s different from the one I have, I add it.
Once you get into the habit of capturing contact information as it flows through your life, you’ll realize the benefits. It’s always useful to have multiple ways to contact someone. And you won’t have to face the embarrassing moment of asking your organized friend for her address – again!