As Porter Gale launches her new tome Your Network is Your Net Worth, I am reminded of another aspect of networking that has both risk and opportunity. How do you handle requests to connect from people you do not know or know little? I have written previously about the Etiquette of Connecting and those rules still apply for most if not all situations. That said, conventional wisdom would have it that you simply do not connect for the precise reason that you do not know the person.
Consider this however, there is a possibility that the person who wants to add you to their network may hold the key to your future, can add value to one of your endeavors or contribute to someone in your network. So what are the metrics to consider in assessing the benefits of connecting. Herewith are the top ten reasons to connect with someone you do not know.
10. Someone in your network knows the requester, can validate their identity and give you a rationale to linkup.
9. The requestor works at a company with whom you are familiar and may be in a position to be helpful to you now or in the future.
8. The career of the requestor squares with your interests and can serve as an example to emulate.
7. The requestor could be a potential customer by virtue of their current job, sphere of influence, network or memberships.
5. The requestor seeking to connect is a headhunter in your field.
4. The requestor is a member of the same trade or professional association as you.
3. The requestor hails from another country, is in the same industry and shares similar interests.
2. The requestor presents a cogent reason, rationale or argument why it’s important to connect with you.
1. You have an opportunity to enlighten, engage and add value to another human being you did not know. You also have the potential good fortune to broaden your knowledge, gain new perspectives on life and maybe learn things you might otherwise have remained ignorant about.