Timeline Your Life For Better Networking Engagement

I am an unapologetic Process Thinker – and the Timeline is a tool I have implemented for many years in my previous and current careers to track sales and project management activities.  A few years ago, I was asked by my son to supply some materials relating to my previous experiences for use in a presentation in one of his college classes.

I am fortunate to be blessed with a time-and-events memory that (without my thinking about it) organizes events, experiences, and people into month and year “folders”, and in response to my son’s request I summarized several years of my past life with a timeline (because the summary had to be incorporated into a PowerPoint  slide).  This experience was very interesting for me, and I now use timelines to pace my business activities – you could think of a timeline as a Graphical Personal Journal.

The retrospective work was very revealing as it connected past events with future accomplishments and opportunities that would have been impossible to foresee at the time of those events or decisions.  This procedure is not so much “living” in the past, rather, it is referencing the past in a way that is more process-oriented and summary in nature than in a written document.

I am finding that I can use this summary information of my past experiences to better connect with people and their own past experiences.  The advantage of the timeline as a memory tracker is that it provides me with a ready index of events, experiences and common threads that I can establish with networking contacts and their referrals.  Building relationships occurs on multiple levels, one of which is shared experiences both past and present.

The tool that I use for creating timelines is Microsoft’s Visio (there is a version for the PC and the Mac as well).  It is an easy-to- use application with a lot of included graphics and templates (timelines, organizational charts, process flows, etc.).  It is also very flexible in terms of allowing files to be imported and manipulated – it is one of my favorite applications for creating graphics to support written materials – it is a great blend between technical and graphical tools.

Another side benefit I have discovered – organizing my experiences with timelines is tending to increase my capacity to more easily recall names, events, conversations and meeting subject matter / results – a valuable asset for Baby Boomer Networkers!

Best regards,


One Response to “ Timeline Your Life For Better Networking Engagement ”

  1. May 6, 2013

    Thanks for this article, Joe. I’ve never heard of anyone doing this; the concept is totally new to me. I know that I am not blessed with the type of memory that you have. It has frustrated me for years that I can’t place certain events in the correct years and their relationship to other events. The year 2008 was pivotal for me. There was so much going on and so many great things were happening that I started making a list of all the major events. I also have started keeping a notebook where I three hole punch programs, agendas, notes, etc in chronological order. I do one notebook per year. For example, Rhonda and I recently took a cruise. I intentionally saved many of the papers so that I could punch them and include them in the notebook. Are you familiar with a little application called Sweet Process?

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