Why is on-line networking different to face to face networking?

Answer: It isn’t.

And yet, lots of people who would quite happily chat in a crowded room with a cup of coffee in their hand seem to struggle when that same conversation takes place on-line.

Our Drive Tribe has regular opportunites to network on-line in our Monday and Friday check-ins in our LinkedIn Group. It’s quite obvious that some people are much more comfortable with this than others and, lets face it, some just don’t get it at all.

One of the people who is exceptionally good at it is our Cat in the Hat  J Laurence Sarno of Cambridge Go To Market so of course we asked him for some tips to pass on to other members!

Ann recently told me I was pretty good at this online networking lark, and asked, could I bottle it.

Of course, I always do what Ann says, so below are my first thoughts to go in the bottle.

It would be excellent if you could add your best tips in the comments at the bottom of the page. 


Why Bother?

First, why should we all strive to be better at this?

  1. Because it’s nice. It makes you feel connected; it makes others feel connected; it creates a general increase in net good on the planet. Win.
  1. You get support, great ideas that apply to your life and work, hell, you might even make friends, and it beats isolation hands down.
  1. You might help someone else, sometimes in profound ways. This raises your spirits and it’s good to feel you have value.
  1. When people feel you’re interested in them, they’re more likely to be interested in you.
  1. The more the members of the network know about what you do and who you are, the more likely they will recommend you if someone they know needs your services/product.
  1. This is a biggie. There are over 750 people in our LinkedIn Group. Many of them may never post anything but they lurke. They watch, they read and they notice. If you want to be noticed and make a favourable impression, this is the best, easiest, cheapest, most efficient way to get in front of a LOT of people. Seeing how you interact with others is a huge insight into the kind of person you are and your values. People buy you, not what you do, so this is a great opportuntity to show who you really are.

Tips for Online Networking

  1. Set aside 15-20 minutes every Monday and Friday just to interact with the tribe. The last thing you want to do is post and run. That’s kinda like breezing into a room and shouting “Hey folks, here I am!” spraying around a bunch of business cards and leaving before you talk to anyone.
  2. Before you post your catch-up, ask yourself:
    Do I need support with something? If you do, stop being so British and just ask.
    Do I want congratulations? Its fine to brag a little – people need to hear good news!
    Do I want commiserations? Its good to keep things real. Not everything goes to plan and you can’t get support if you pretend everything is OK when its not.
    Do I have an observation about my week that might be valuable to others?
    Is there anyone I want to thank publicly?

Now, moving on to other people’s posts:

  1. Read each person’s post and any comments that are already there.
  1. What is the feeling they’re communicating, as well as the words? In other words, imagine you are them – what would you be feeling?
  1. Now respond to both their words and their feeling.
  1. If you have anything helpful to offer, do that.
  1. Do you need some help on the topic they’re talking about? If yes, ask about it.
  1. The first time someone shows up, check if they’re a Premium member by checking our Premium Members List.  If they’re a visitor, go to their LinkedIn profile so you have some idea of who they are, then welcome them and ask them something about themselves or their business. If their LinkedIn profile shows some happy connection between you and them, say it.
  1. Oh, and yeah: Give a shit.

I wanted to translate that last statement into something more socially acceptable, but Ann said leave it: We’re in Drive because we actually do give a shit and we care about each other’s lives and work; so I know you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Join our LinkedIn Group and give it a go!

Do you have any tips to add or questions to ask? Leave them in the comments below.