Why I'm Not a LION

I've been attending a lot of events lately, talking to a lot of new people, getting to know acquaintances better, and generally doing a lot of networking.  One thing I haven't been doing is "open networking" on LinkedIn.

My core networking philosophy is it should be meaningful, and not transactional.  LinkedIn Open Networking isn't based on cultivating a relationship; it's a numbers game.  I'm not an extrovert (although I can pass as one through a lot of practice).  I know it's impossible to make those meaningful connections with people if I don't spend time with them. I limit my LinkedIn connections to people I've at least started to build a connection with, even if it was one really great conversation. When I joined LinkedIn, I made concious decisions about how and why I would connect with people, and when I'd make exceptions. I even included a statement about on my LinkedIn profile page.
That's not a judgement of people who are LinkedIn Open Networkers. There are some roles that are particularly well suited to being a LION; anyone in sales, business development, or talent acquisition needs to build a pipeline of potentials (just to name three). But I'm none of those roles.  And I really like knowing who's in my immediate network and exactly why we're connected in the first place. 

I really like the idea of building community, but that means making the effort to get to know a person. That includes virtual communities as well as face to face ones. For me, that means focusing on getting to know people. 

So if you want to connect on LinkedIn, don't take it personally if I don't accept the invite.  Because it isn't personal (yet).


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  • 4 Mar 2013, 8:49 AM Jim Adcock wrote:
    I strongly agree. A network is only as strong as the connections in it.

    In general, I only link to people I have had some sort of significant interaction with (it could be online or in person), enough so that I feel like I have a good idea of who they are.

    That said, I am always open to sitting down with someone I don't (yet) know and get to know them, for the purpose of building that connection.

    My personal exception to that is that I do "open network" with recruiters (though I tag them by whether or not I have a relationship with them or it was just a recruiter that reached out to me to connect).

    Obviously, when they have an opening that I might be a fit for, I want them to come to me. But I also foster these looser connections because I want to be a recource to them in helping them find people in my network who are looking for work.
    Reply to this
    1. 4 Mar 2013, 7:48 PM Jennifer Brown wrote:
      Excellent points, Jim.  I make exceptions with Recruiters, too, although I at least have had an email or phone interaction first. 
      Reply to this

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