Would you walk into a networking event and refuse to meet people? If you’re in business, this could be the kiss of death.
In today’s virtual world, social tools like LinkedIn are today’s way of meeting people, growing our networks, and building strategic partnerships. It always amazes me the amount of resistance we sometimes get to accepting invitations, ranging from declining LinkedIn networking requests to selecting “I don’t know you.”
This would be equivalent to walking into a networking event and refusing to meet people. The message you are sending is “I can’t talk to you because I don’t know you.” So why, in today’s virtual world, would we miss the opportunity to forge business relationships? The bigger our network, the larger our toolbox of resources to tap into. Whether a connection can help solve a problem, has resources, or knows someone that can help. If you don’t connect, what potentially significant opportunity have you missed?
Yes, there can be a certain level of hesitation in accepting some invitations: Will my company know I’m connecting to the competition? Recruiter? Is that so bad? People talk, engage and share.
Just like any networking event, the goal is to meet new people and expand your relationships. Here, you likely wouldn’t hesitate to chat with a competitor, and doing so online is no different.
Accepting an invitation on LinkedIn is not a lifetime commitment. Consider it to be a virtual business card; you can toss it out anytime.
Rest assured, you have a high level of control of your privacy through your LinkedIn profile settings. When you receive an invitation to connect, think before you blow them off. Selecting “I don’t know you” restricts the ability to connect later, shutting the door. If you must, select “Ignore.” You have that right, and this way the door might be closed, but it won’t be locked.
I, for one, like to keep my door open!