When the topic of Linked In Open Networking emerges, many interesting debates unfold. Most commonly the discussion invariably turns to the whole "quality" connections versus "quantity" connections. The "rules" of networking are not matured to a widespread acceptance, and yet, with people doing what works best for them, LinkedIn grew to 9,000,000 members at the close of 2006! Talk about market share!
This blog will not try to resolve the issue of quality versus quantity. Learning to create working business relationships that compliment your style and preference is always the right approach. People network because they have business needs, it is profile clarity, accessibility, endorsements, and connections, that creates an image that people want to meet.
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Dawn's Opinions On Linked In Open Networking: One size does not fit all in the world of social networking, and this is one reason I have come to appreciate Linked In, for it's quality of business professionals. I have tried other social networks without as much success, now if my objective were "dating", I would have found a market in some of the other social networks, being a happily married mom of 2, I have been an open networker on Linked In for several years now, and have made and received introductions that rocketed my professional image, or that of my valued colleagues.. Isn't that what social networking SHOULD be about?
That being my experience, and successfully connecting to many opportunities I would have never found otherwise, I am a clear fan and advocate that for this professional Open Networking is practical and serves me as well as my connections.
I was not always open to Open Networking. I was one of the average members with 40 or less connections. However in my industry the churn and change became so aggressive that our Helping Friends Career Network depended upon me becoming open to people I did not know directly. Here are 10 tips to manage Linked In Open Networking.
- Complete, current, and valid profiles only please. I do not accept connections from anyone who has concurrently worked for 90 years for every Fortune 500 company. I also tend to distrust incomplete profiles pointing to a free mail account and a fictitious looking name.
- Get to know your connections well enough to represent their interests. I like to call this a Master Networker Consciousness. They communicate their offering and desired connection requests and get to know their connections needs as well.
- Beware the flame-- it can burn mighty hot! There is a nobility in respectful business behavior "virtual" does not mean "free venting". Your name, your reputation and your image is in your communications- whether your communications are good or bad. That person you flame could be a friend of your friend... a potential employer, or business partner. Explain your position, clarify uncertainties, but be practical. It is largely impractical to flame someone for not responding fast enough, for denying your request, or refusing to forward a request for any reason. This happens very rarely because most people seem to get it.
- Invitation Templates.. I am not offended by "system" templates, but some people are. I don't mind a template that is created personally and used repetitively if it tells me who you are and why it is valuable for us to consider connecting-- in fact that makes it easier for me to accept.
- Check out Linked In Answers.. This is a great place to get to know the many networking professionals.. Got a question about how to make your network work for you? Post the question on Linked In Answers.