networking no-no's for nice people

Yesterday, I had a great 20-minute call with a lawyer. She had helped me with my business years ago, and we reconnected at a recent eWomen Network meeting. She had questions about my offerings and I was curious about her current work, so I emailed her and we set up time to chat via phone. We talked about kids, travel, work projects, our businesses, and we both thought of ways we might work together or refer each other to our ideal clients (in fact, she already referred a Star Mapping client to me – awesome!). Genuine, purposeful, nice networking.

This is the way networking is supposed to be. But, frankly, some people seriously screw this up and give networking a bad name. If you want to be known for being authentic and compassionate in your work (and of course you do!), go through this quick list and make sure you’re playing nice.

1Never, ever, ever add someone to your newsletter list or blog feed just because you met in person. I’m so fed up with it happening that I tweeted about it yesterday – and got so many responses from people who are equally annoyed. Connect and follow new contacts via social media in hopes they reciprocate (it is social media, after all) – but consider people’s inboxes to be sacred space. If you didn’t get a chance to give them your card, you could send a brief, “loved-meeting-you” email with a link to your site (and then they can decide if and how they want to receive your content). But automatically adding someone to your list holds great potential for irritating a person who could have been a great connection or future client.

twoDon’t add someone to a Facebook group without their permission. I love connecting with certain communities on Facebook, but I’m intentional about the groups I join. So, it’s unnerving when new groups I know nothing about pop up in my sidebar. I used to approve everyone who “friended” me Facebook (nowadays, I’d much rather connect over here). I’m amazed how many of those so-called friends have added me to groups without my consent. I just checked – and I currently “belong” to 38 Facebook groups (what!?) – half of which I’ve never visited and now need to manually leave. Think someone would be a great addition to your group? Send them a Facebook message with an invitation. I recently received a totally warm-and-fuzzy, personalized note from a group of coaches who thought I’d add and find value in their Facebook community – and that prompted me to join. That’s the way to do it, peeps!

threeTake control of your settings. This one is a new learning for me, specifically about LinkedIn. I’ve tweaked my profile a bunch in recent weeks, and each time I made a slight change, I got a note from someone congratulating me on my new job. Huh?? Turns out, whenever you update your info, LinkedIn alerts your LinkedIn contacts, sometimes even encouraging them to congratulate you on your new job. Unless you really did make a major career move, that is confusing for your network! I tweeted about this issue, too – and someone at LinkedIn got right back to me. Guess what? You can change your LinkedIn settings here to make tweaks without announcing them to the world. Awesome.

See? Easy as 1-2-3 to be super-nice and more effective in your networking. Got tips or questions? Fire away, love…