Learning to network

November 16, 2006

Broader connections whilst maintaining quality

Filed under: LinkedIn, Manage my network — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 9:31 pm

In the few invitations I have made so far, I felt the boilerplate messages were too impersonal, so I wrote my own, making the act of inviting the person to connect to me a network communication event in its own right.

A LinkedInnovator, Bruce Beswick,  posted to describe his own personal practices, where he takes this a step further. Rather than ignoring unsolicited invitations outright, or replying politely whilst declining for the time being like I have already done, he uses this as an opportunity to develop a new quality connection.

To quote from his post…

“When I get an invite that is very impersonal or a boiler plate – I
ALWAYS send a very polite return email asking about that person. I
would suggest that more than 75% never respond. If they respond we
chat for a couple of emails. If they do not – and I give them about a
week to respond – I politely decline the invite. I want POWER in my
network – NOT numbers.
As a person who is new and yet still wants to grow his network – I am
not interested in numbers. I am interested in quality. Therefore I am
not interested in engaging a person if they are not interested in
responding. It is a waste of my time.

Probably makes me sound like a hard ass – but I will always assist
those in my network if I can. In return I simply would ask – and
EXPECT – the same of others if they are able.”

I think this is a very interesting way of trying to maintain a balance between quality and the desire to grow your network just a little more. I guess this is kind of the reverse of where I have started to build up relationships following blog-comment-conversations, or striking up off-group conversations following somebody’s group post. Here I am testing whether I will be prepared to actively send an invite, whereas Bruce’s idea is a way of determining value after passively receiving an invite.

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