Enlightened Leadership Blog | Why Are We Connecting? | March 2022

Digital connection can be engaging, informative, and useful, ultimately leading to new partnerships. However, it can also be distracting and fruitless. Many of us are greeted with multiple “invites” to network daily. I’ve learned through experimentation how to compartmentalize such requests to preserve my time and focus, and now yours.

Give

The givers are typically those connected to us directly or through our network. These folks “get it”. They are professionals with a lot going on, not looking to waste time. They realize that you can help them with something; in turn, they can offer value to you. They may introduce you to new connections and ideas; you can do the same. Generally, those linked to members of your network are worth exploring.

Why are we connecting? Because we may learn, enhance, and grow our business, relationships, or ourselves.

Take

The “take” requests fall into three buckets:

  1. Obvious at first glance – no notable introduction. Perhaps what they are selling or wanting has no relation to your line of work. In some cases, it’s clear that they didn’t read your website, LinkedIn or Instagram profile. Hit delete, move on.
  2. Long winded note – they are selling something. Based on my experience, more than 50 percent of these follow up at least once. Pass the first time. Guess what happens the second and third time? Pass, pass again.
  3. Abrasive – the language of their correspondence leads with fear.

Here’s an excerpt from a real note I received recently, “…The last obstacle is yourself. Your indecision, inaction, and unwillingness to act on your desire for more. It may be out of fear, or it may be out of distrust, but regardless, the results are the same, for this program, for your business, and for your overall quality of life: You’re setting yourself up for failure. You shouldn’t just identify the need to act, but you need to realize the importance of timeliness. And for that reason, I regret to inform you that this will be the last invitation I’ll be sending you to join the call and set yourself up for the business mentorship program.”

Is this guy for real? First, why would anyone pay this person for business mentorship? Second, hard to imagine they would gain customers with this kind of marketing tactic.

Why are these correspondences categorized as “take”? Because they want time and money without offering anything in return. It’s all about them and a sale from the first line of their communication. No need to read line two. The answer to “Why are we connecting?” is simple – we’re not.

In between

Some who seek us out don’t clearly fall into the give or take groups. Whether or not to honor these “in between” requests is best decided on a case-by-case basis.

Why are we connecting? If we proceed, think of the initial connection as a half hour lab experiment to find out if there is any chemistry.

Pause

We can apply this knowledge to enhance our own networking correspondence to ensure the recipient would view our note positively. Before hitting send, pause to ask yourself, did I:

  • Introduce myself?
  • Mention how we are connected? For example, we both belong to the same professional organization, worked at the same company, etc.
  • Explain what it is I want to talk about? (make sure to read the person’s profile and/or website)
  • Suggest the benefit to them of agreeing to an exploratory call?; and
  • State my time request is no more than 20 minutes?

The next time an invite arrives, mentally categorize the request as give – yes, take – no, and in between – maybe. Then, give to the givers.

by Jennifer L. Musser