Friday, January 23, 2009
Business networking has taken off in recent years. More people are finding their way online and in search of new ways to find people to help build their personal network, and of course the possibility - the hope - that new business will result from this magical and ever-growing network they are developing. From the first tiny seed, they envision a massive tree of branches, carrying bounteous fruit in the form of New Business.
As owner of several networks, moderator of several more, and member of more still, I am exposed to a lot of networks, networking people, and ideas on what constitutes "good networking online" and am happy in most cases to proceed as something of an 'open networker'. Up to a point. I'm happy to connect with new people I don't know yet, and willing to be open to develop a relationship with them if that opportunity arises over time into the future.
This open-ness of course ceases when someone displays evidence of being a pest.
So here's the deal. Want to network? Sure. Great. Join me on Facebook. Invite me to your network on Linkedin. Follow me on Twitter and enjoy access to a little bit of me and my thoughts, and if the occasion arises, a bit of help along the way. A headsup here, an idea there, a laugh or thought or other shared moment, as we learn about each other and navigate the path from respected stranger to welcome friend.
Want to progress that relationship? Move it along a bit faster? Notice if I do something that you find is useful and give me feedback. Send me a private message to say hello. Ask me a question. Send me a funny line or a clever quote. Think of something interesting that I will be entertained by, and I'll love it. I'll respond when I can and if we get on really well I might even let welcome you in to my closer circle of contacts. That's reasonable conduct is it not?
The kind of way that a relationship of any kind may develop.
This seems incredibly straightforward to me.
Instead I see increasingly, examples of a quite different approach.
It is more like:
You don't know me.
You impose on my better nature with:
A deluge of self-absorbed propaganda, sales letters and invitations to lame networks on topics that have no interest and which you've lazily clicked on "invite all" with the complete disrespect to your full list of contacts, that you've shown me.
A self-serving (and entirely misguided) virtual graffiti explosion on my network page in the delusion (supposedly) that it is going to reap you some reward. Or worse - you bombard my whole network membership with the same.
You continue to imagine in your delusion, that this is endearing to me.
One For The Record
Whatever it is that you think you are doing when you do this to me or any other of your network connections, it is not networking. It is simple bad manners.
It is not marketing.
It is not selling.
It is not building relationships.
It is not engendering trust.
Whatever it is... Stop it.
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