The Hidden Power of Social Networking
LinkedIn is new territory for me. I dipped my toes in the waters a couple of years ago, adding connections but not mining them because, from my Canadian perspective, it’s rude to poke into other people’s business. Checking out my connections’ connections felt like digging into their personal stuff.
I thought LinkedIn was nothing more than a job search site until I read Keith Ferrazi’s book, Never Eat Alone. It’s all about making friends and building stronger business relationships. No longer do we separate our business relationships from our personal relationships. Both work together for the simple reason that we prefer to work with people that we know and like.
Think about it. Would you rather work with a stranger, or a friend? Wouldn’t you want to meet someone your friend recommends?
Making our big world smaller
With social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter, suddenly it’s easier to connect. I can make the big world smaller, reduce the degrees of separation. My network touches other networks.
LinkedIn allows me to reach people more quickly. More importantly, by linking through others, I’m no longer a stranger. I have a level of credibility that I would not have had without the introduction.
Here’s a real-life example. I identified a company that I would like to do business with. I Googled the president, then looked at his profile on LinkedIn. I didn’t have a direct connection, but I had several third-degree links. One of my connections happens to know someone who sits on the board of directors. I sent a request for an introduction to my friend, who promptly responded. And when I say promptly, I mean in two minutes or less.
The very next day, I had coffee with my new connection. We talked about their business and mine, discussed how I could meet my target company president. This meeting could have taken months to schedule. It might never have happened at all if I hadn’t taken the leap and asked my friend to connect me to their friend.
It’s okay to ask a favour from your friend because friendship is about give and take. Now I admire my friend even more because she gets it and was happy to connect me. It has strengthened our relationship. And, of course, she knows she can count on me in future. How great is that?