Several years ago I was giving an educational presentation to the National Speakers Association. After it was over, a young lady came up to me, stars in her eyes, and proclaimed that I had just given a presentation that had changed her life. She gave me her business card as she thanked me for the wisdom I had given her. That's when I make The Big Blunder….

I lost her card. I filed it someplace where I'd be sure to remember it… and it's probably still there. Years later, I remember her, but I have no idea how to get in touch with her. And that means I have no way of reaching her or helping her.

That's why it's vital that you maintain the contact information of the people who like you and like your message. (This is called your "list" by marketing types.) Not keeping my list is one of the biggest blunders I've made in my speaking career. I'd rather you didn't make this mistake as well.

Now in their zeal, some speakers go overboard and eagerly hoard the contact information of anyone-and-everyone they meet (or didn't meet). They also brag to other speakers by saying things like "I've got a zillion people on my list!"

I'm not impressed. To me, the pertinent question is "How many of those people know who you are? Or care?" Now these overzealous speakers respond, in essence, that any name is a good name because it might eventually lead to business.

Maybe. Personally, I think it's a waste of time. I want my list (and, yes, I am building and maintaining my list now. I learn from my mistakes) to be restricted to the names of people who know and remember me. If that means that my list isn't the biggest, I can live with that.

But I'll admit I could be wrong in this. You should follow whichever philosophy makes sense to you. But whatever you do, you must build and maintain your list!

Action Steps:

1. Use a computer program or app to keep track of your contacts. (You've got to do it digitally. You'll soon have too many names to process manually, and keeping a Rolodex card file is so 20th century.)

2. Whenever you meet a qualified (by your standards) person, get their contact information and enter it into your database.

3. Find a reason to keep in touch with the people on your list at least a couple of times a year. Absence can make the heart grow fonder, but it can also cause people to forget who you are.