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Monday, November 23, 2009

BEING THERE WHEN IT COUNTS: How many opportunities are you missing?

LinkedIn: The Better Professional Social Network?Image by inju via Flickr

Being There When it Counts
with RickItzkowich

I recently received the following message in response to a connection request I made on LinkedIn.

"Hello Rick -- I've always been torn about whether or not to link with someone I don't know. It seems to defeat the purpose -- to refer or introduce you to others in my network when I don’t know you personally. Just yesterday I called a friend to ask about someone in her network, and she said she didn't know the person. Don't you think that makes the connection useless?"

I believe this person’s perspective is most likely the norm. She found my below response useful and so may you.

"Sarah (not real name),

I fully understand your feelings. When I first started using LinkedIn and other social networking sites, my approach was to only accept invitations from people I knew personally. I wasn't going to be one of those people who had hundreds or thousands of meaningless connections.

I soon realized that with this approach, my networking was going to be extremely limited -- and let’s face it, quite useless. Because, in reality, I would be networking with people I was already networking with. Not a lot of growth potential here.

It so happened that when I started using LinkedIn, I also began writing and submitting articles. Whenever people commented on my articles, I would write them an email thanking them. This led to opening conversations with many of these folks. And before long, I started adding these individuals to my network.

Social networking is all about relationships. However, the value of our network is based on both the QUALITY (depth) and the QUANTITY (reach) of our relationships. It’s not an "either/or" but rather a "both/and" proposition.

While you and I don't know each other, we do share several things in common. We are connected to some individuals we both know. We are both in BNI. We participate on LinkedIn, and we belong to some of the same LinkedIn professional groups. I think we both can agree – we have a heck of good start to our relationship.

In fact your initial query has led to this conversation (albeit by email). Who knows where this will lead? However, if you fail to accept my invitation, it will certainly lead nowhere.

Does this mean I personally know every person my network? No, it doesn't. However everyone in my network has the potential to contribute something to someone else in my network. Take your case for example. You have knowledge in reverse mortgages, something about which I know very little about. If someone in my network were to ask me a question or a recommendation in this area, I wouldn't hesitate to tap into your expertise. I might contact you asking you for the information, or I may provide your name to my contact and/or have them contact you directly, etc.

The bottom line is -- social networking is about a mindset. If you are connecting with people for the exclusive purpose of "what you can get," the numbers are quite useless. However, if your purpose for growing your network is so that you can offer more opportunities to "give" to others through your connections, then numbers do matter. My invitation to connect with you is still very much open! I hope you will accept."

I would love to hear others' comments and feedback on this timely topic.

This month's QuoteAction is by Singer, Rita Coolidge

"Too often the opportunity knocks, but by the time you disengage the chain, push back the bolt, unhook the two locks and shut off the burglar alarms, it is too late."

Your action is to look for an opportunity to do something you've wanted to do and act on it.

Enjoy an Extraordinary Month!

Click *here* to find out more about QuoteActions and some of the other innovative products and services offered by THE NATIONAL NETWORKER.

As the creator of the QuoteActions, a unique relationship building system, Rick Itzkowich finds his articles, podcasts and blog messages regarding keeping your brand "top of mind" in high demand. His latest eBook, Social Networking for Business Profits, uses cost-effective follow up strategies. Rick is also the Co-founder and Vice President of Productive Learning & Leisure, a personal development training company for corporations and individuals. Rick can be reached at

For more about Rick Itzkowich, please click here.

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Anonymous said...

I concur wholeheartedly. Read a book titled "Power Networking" and you will find it is all about giving more than receiving. It then becomes amazing how much is returned.

Matthew Keane said...

I also agree - it's about giving rather than just getting. I've tried to educate many people in this area that just dont "get it". Some are too concerned to share or connect, some start when they are up against the wall and get frustrated no one is leapeing to their aid, others are mixing old school relationship management with emerging social media technologies and techniques.

Jeff Flowers said...

I have an issue with Linked In's policy regarding sending Link invitations to people you don't know. The way it works, if a hand full of people check the box saying that they don't know you, the system prevents you from sending out any invitations.

This is ridiculous!

If I am at a business function, I am perfectly fine going up to someone I don't know and introducing myself. I don't have to wait for someone to hold my hand and provide an introduction.

You should be able to reach out to anyone in the system and introduce yourself without penalty. If this is a problem for someone, I suppose they could choose to only receive invitations from people they know (which defeats the purpose in my view, but, to each his own).

In the end, if you don't want to accept the invitation, you don't have to.

Strange rule they have on this system to say the least.

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