Lions. They’re a nutty bunch. I’m one of them. Even so, I’m not writing this post to convince you to join the pack nor why you should or shouldn’t be one. I’m simply interested in offering my observations regarding how you can benefit from LinkedIn beyond creating a phonebook filled with your friends and their friends.
What is an open networker?
Open networkers are, rather obviously, individuals who are happy to connect online with others whom they are not currently acquainted. For many, their thought process is the more people they’re connected with the better. You will often find sales people and recruiters interested in growing their networks for lead generation and candidate acquisition purposes. Those are mere samples, but you get the picture.
Of course, there are many other reasons for wanting to connect with the world:
You create a network so you can offer help first and receive help second. This is the single greatest reason I am an open networker. It is my belief that the more people I’m connected with the more people who can benefit from my help. I subscribe to the philosophy that you get back what you give off. It’s one of the reasons I give Interview Intervention away for free as well as write weekly posts that help many. I don’t keep score (which would be absolutely exhausting). I have faith that my gifts will be repaid, likely by someone other than the receiver of those gifts. If not, I can take comfort in knowing I’m a good person that gives to the world.
You create a network to make your life more enjoyable and easier. Networks are fun! The more diverse they are the more fun they are! I can’t believe how many emails (uh, inmails) I get daily from people wanting to give me something, invite me to something, and, of course, need something. It makes “sales” easier and it makes job searching easier. So many benefits.
Your network becomes a foundation for your “platform.” I have news for you. You don’t need to be a celebrity to have a platform. Like it not, you have one. It might be empty, but you still have (n)one. Whether you are an accountant, teacher, sales person, author, chief executive or whatever, you have a platform. The world insatiably peeks at it whenever someone introduces your name—especially when that someone is you. For many (not all), the more supporters who view your content and expertise, the better off you’ll be. It’s helpful to leverage the main mediums for this including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (alert—there are many dog pictures), Blogs, Websites, and so forth.
There are a few qualifications I’d like to add. I’ve heard many people mention that your LinkedIn network should be pure and only consist of those you know well. (I think LinkedIn actually states this somewhere on their incredibly big site.) There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. That’s a personal choice. I’m good with that.
In my case, I have found that by remaining open, I can help more people. If someone reaches out to me and wants an introduction to someone I’m connected with whom I don’t know or know well, I’ll make that introduction and leave the rest to those two individuals. My view is that if someone I don’t know wanted to connect with me, he or she is likely a welcoming individual and recognizes the benefits of being connected.
The other point here is that you can simply click a button to remove the relationship should someone you’re unfamiliar with become bothersome.
For those interested in becoming a LION, there are many ways to go about it. You can stamp LION on your profile and others might catch on. You can also join a number of open networker groups on LinkedIn such toplinkedin.com, lion500.com, and lionwornwithpride.
Lastly, if you become an open networker, be respectful and cherish all the connections you have. Most importantly, do your best to help those connections when they need it!
If you enjoyed this article, you can view others like it such as How to Build Your Professional Network, The Anatomy of a Top 1% Most Viewed Profile, and You’re Only as Strong as Your Network–4 Keys to Building Relationships. You’re also welcome to visit the usual social spots at LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for wonderful tips and tricks related to life and work.
In other exciting news, The Hiring Prophecies: Psychology behind Recruiting Successful Employees is now for sale!