I was recently asked by someone to connect on Linkedin. It turns out this person works for a competitor and I am always hesitant to allow people I don’t know to connect with me because I am afraid their motives might not be aligned with mine. I asked this person why they wanted to connect with me
since we are competitors and they responded – “well we do not consider you to be a competitor – roger and out”! Wow, I thought, good job I did not connect with them – I mean, I have the deepest respect for my competitors, but would people from Pepsi connect with people from Coca Cola on Linkedin when they are not allowed to drink each other’s products? Of course not. As usual, this got me thinking – why do people want to connect; what are their motives; are they here to add value or get something for themselves? So many questions.
I thought I would give you my personal views on networking….
First, networking should be a way to help one another. If you are trying to network with someone for your own purposes, then I think you are not understanding the concept. Personally, as a business owner, I do not like to be solicited for business on LinkedIn nor do I like my contacts to be solicited either. If people start using LinkedIn as a way to sell, then I think it will erode the spirit of why networking was conceptualized in the first place. Second, I like to connect people on LinkedIn that I think could be helpful to each other. Even though I run a recruitment and outplacement company, I always connect possible candidates without expecting any sort of fee or “payback”.
Now a word of caution, be careful how you conduct yourself on LinkedIn. Always behave in a professional and respectful manner. I have found that the world is a very small place and you never know when your inappropriate comments/behavior can come back to haunt you. With these words I leave you with my best wishes for…..