Category Archives: Networking

Don’t Do This in Building a Network

Taking a short-cut to relationship-building is like walking into a five-star restaurant expecting to get your food in a McDonald minute. It won’t happen. There is a mismatch between expectation and delivery. Sometimes, doing just a little bit more helps pave the way for successful outcomes. (Think of the waiter who signs the check with a smiley face).

I am fortunate that my blog has been designated as one of the “Top 60 Jewish Blogs”, however even this speck of notoriety means that my blog door is open wide to all kinds of invitations. I receive requests to recommend schools, camps, blogs, merchandise, and causes. Some of the requests are heartfelt, some reflect a severe lack of professionalism.

An email I received started with this salutation:

“Dear Sir/Madam“…. (really, you weren’t able to personalize your request at all?) At least demonstrate that you’ve done a little bit of homework on who you’re trying to reach, no?

Next, there were almost 20 recipients listed in the “To” line (isn’t deciding to ‘open cc’ everyone an accepted faux pas?)

It ended with:

“I am requesting assistance in helping me and them (sic) promote my blog by linking it to yourblog/website (sic). Any assistance you can give me will be deeply appreciated. Thanking you in advance. Feel free to contact me with any questions.”

The blog is, in fact, related to my area of interest…so I had to think about how to respond.

Should I have ignored the request? (I couldn’t). Should I have spent a considerable amount of time coaching this individual on how to go about a solicitation? (I didn’t).

After considering it a bit, I decided to answer with just one small recommendation so as not to overwhelm with too much negativity and I wished the blogger success.

And, as long as I’m on the subject of networking, I receive multiple requests to connect on LinkedIn without any introduction at all. This must be such a widespread practice that LinkedIn recommends writing a note to those you don’t know. Really? The platform for business networking needs to suggest that?

I’m stumped. If connecting with a particular person is so important, why wouldn’t someone take the time to introduce themselves? If you met me at a Business Card Exchange, would you just show up and say “Looking to connect” and leave things at that?

Precisely because connections occur asynchronously I think even more time should be spent on the civility of connections. Don’t we all agree that creating a warm exchange is even more important when using tech tools? In these cases, a typical ‘elevator speech’ works well in person or in writing.

Okay, last one. Have you ever received this request from a potential contact? “Please feel free to call or email at your earliest convenience.”

Really? You’re interested in reaching out to me and you want me to follow-up? I should feel free?

Well, thank you, it felt great to share this with you.  Oh, and by the way, feel free to contact me. No, really.