Are You Really Networking or Do You Just Want the Connection?

The concept is simple; you request or accept an invitation and voila, you have a new connection.  But why?  Are you actually using that connection as a resource and to network with or do you just want to add them to your following or connection base for popularity sake (so to speak)?  I am just focusing on LinkedIn because it is the most professional social media tool out there in the social networking ecosystem.

Think about it…a lot of us have over 500 connections in our LinkedIn social networking group alone but out of that mass amount, how many do you actually connect with on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis?  We live in a world today in which information and resources are at the tips of our fingers and can be acquired instantaneously.  Not only that, as the popular adage goes…”Your network determines your net worth.”  Let’s just take the number 500 and divide it by 2 that would be 250 correct?  Easy math, I know.  Now, let’s take that 250 and multiply it by 1000 and that would equal 250,000.  If each of those connections were valued at a $1000 a person, then it would be $250,000, right?  So consider that $250,000 dollars’ worth of knowledge and resources at your disposal.  That’s just a hypothetical approach but realistically just one connection, if handled properly, could open the door to a new opportunity in which you could receive a salary increase, a new partnership, an idea worth thousands if not millions of dollars and the list goes on and on.

So before (or after) you hit the accept or submit a request for a new connection, think about the cost of having that connection as well as how valuable of a resource that you can be to others.  Don’t make a habit of just building up your connection base like one does when “collecting” business cards never to refer to them again once they receive it.  Give each connection careful thought and consideration.  Study your connections and find ways to collaborate and connect with them.  You might just be surprised that what you’ve been looking for is right in arms reach.

Make it a goal to reach out to at least 1 to 3 connections a week or at least per month and see where it will take you.  Also, find out where those connections hang out (virtually speaking), like in LinkedIn user groups that you might have in common or consider the ones that you may not have joined.  There is a lot of “free” yet valuable information just floating around if you really seek it out.  One word of advice, consider the value that you can bring to the table and let it go from there.  The more value that you give the more you will gain.  That’s just a core principle.  Stay connected!

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