I’m away this week, and it’s a shame. You see, Cathy Miller has left us a guest post, and I’m not connected where I am. I can’t comment beyond what I’m doing here (days before I leave town).
Cathy and I chat a bit offline (quite a bit). In one recent conversation, we recognized some patterns with freelancers that tend to sink their freelance ships before they even sail. That was the prompt for my post last week.
It was also the prompt for Cathy’s post, included below. I love her take on this. In my absence, please share this and give her comment love.
Does Lazy Networking Litter Your Inbox?
by Cathy Miller
Do you hate litter? Although the obvious answer is, “Yes,” don’t you wonder why we have so much of it?
Lori’s post, Why Your Freelancing Career is Stalled, really spoke to me. No, not because I take shortcuts on networking (at least I hope not), but it reminded me how much I hate littering. Littering? What’s that have to do with networking? Allow me to explain.
I used to train potential volunteers on different activities for Volunteer San Diego. One of my favorites was beach clean-ups. I abhor littering. I call it the epitome of laziness. Although trash cans are everywhere, some people drop their trash where they sit – rather than walking the few steps to a trash can. See? Laziness.
For me, those who constantly seek shortcuts in networking are like those lazy litterers. Rather than take the few extra steps, they drop their trash marketing on your inbox and social media platforms.
There’s No Quick in Rich
Perhaps lazy networking springs from the persistent get-rich quick mentality. Forget the work. Why not leap to the ultimate goal – making the sale. Ask yourself. How often does that scheme really work?
The following offers a few examples of what I mean by lazy networking.
Instant Messaging – You receive an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ (wherever). You click on the Accept button and BAM! You instantly receive a message back (often automated) with that person’s best (?) sales pitch.
Group Antics – You join a group or forum. You begin perusing the posts. You scroll through page after page of sales pitches. No one seems to be actually interacting with others. It’s like driving down a highway, peppered with billboard signs.
Endless Endorsements – You open your LinkedIn account to endless endorsements from a person you do not know. Despite your lack of communication with that person, he or she has strung together endorsements announcing your skills in areas you didn’t even know you possessed.
These are just a few of the ways people take shortcuts in networking. Any one of the above tactics can be tweaked to deliver a better networking experience. How?
- Instant messaging – It is a great idea to respond after someone accepts your invitation to connect. But make that a thank you and an invitation to share something about themselves. Don’t shortcut your networking efforts by going from Accept to Sales Pitch the minute they respond.
- Group antics – Go ahead. Share articles/information, but initiate a conversation. What do you think about XYZ mentioned in this article? And mix it up some. Don’t make every article/post just about your own content.
- Endless endorsements – I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of LinkedIn’s Endorsements. However, when done with the best of intentions, I send a thank you to the person endorsing me (the person I know).
Networking is about sharing common interests. Think of networking like your computer cable plug and a wall outlet.
- The computer is your business
- The cable plug is your networking
- The wall outlet is your targeted market (or the individual you meet)
You need the energy from the outlet to enable the cable plug to power your computer. When you make the connection, you gain the power to add speakers, and a keyboard, and other devices. (Okay, wireless connectors, stick with me here. It’s an analogy. An old one, but still an analogy).
It’s hard to make a connection when the power is turned off. That’s what happens with your targeted market when the only interests being shared are your own. A lot goes into creating a network. Plugging a cable into an outlet is not enough.
Although social media and digital devices have made the physical connection simpler, it’s still up to you to turn on the juice. When you do, you gain the power to broaden your network connections. And that sure beats littering them with lazy networking.
Cathy Miller has a business writing blog at Simply stated business. Her blog, Why 60 Miles, is in the early stages and inspired by her passion for walking 60 miles in 3 days to support research for finding a cure for cancer.
Writers, what examples of lazy do you see?
How have you ensured your own networking is more proactive?