I have a column idea for you. I would love for you to write a column about
unfortunate networking. A lot of people don’t know a lot about networking and
they make some very inappropriate requests. I’m sure their intentions are good,
but it’s so annoying to the recipient.
Here are three examples of the kind of thing I have in mind. A lady heard me
speak at a networking event a year ago, and just last week she wrote to me to
say “I heard you speak last year. Please give me your thoughts on my resume,
which is attached.” Another person wrote to me and said “I found your profile on
LinkedIn and I’d like to buy you lunch and get your ideas for my new business.”
My co-worker had a person call her up at her desk. The man on the phone had seen
her profile on LinkedIn and is otherwise a complete stranger. He said “You are
on the committee for [a certain not-for-profit agency’s annual gala]. Can you
introduce me to [a bigshot in our town] who is also on the committee?”
Please think about it! I think this story could help some people.
Great story idea! Let’s take the last example, first. Since the gentleman who
called your co-worker is a perfect stranger to her, why didn’t he just call the
Introductions are endorsements. If we want to talk to Bill Gates, we can try our
luck at reaching Bill directly. That’s not networking, but it’s perfectly
standard business practice.
If we call a friend of Bill’s out of the blue and ask for an introduction to
Bill, we’ve committed a grave social error. We’ve asked Bill’s friend to extend
his or her name on our behalf, and we’ve done it thoughtlessly, as though Bill’s
friend’s good name had no value. That’s an insult. Duels were fought over lesser
slights until a hundred years ago.
The critique-my-resume request and the I’ll-buy-you-lunch proposal are two more
great examples of cringe-worthy networking gaffes. I’m sure you are polished in
your delivery of the “It pains me to decline your kind offer, and yet
circumstances compel me to do just that” message by now.
Remind me Hailey if you haven’t seen that story appear within the next month.
Thanks for the idea!
Folks, do you have a oh-dear-me networking story to share? Please share it in the Comment section, below.