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 networks on-line in our weekly 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  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 900 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 a few minutes every week 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 uptight 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?

Read other people’s posts and comments and talk to them like they were in the same room as you.
If their comment is funny say so, if its sad, offer some sympathy.
If you don’t understand it, ask for more details.

Remember that you can make people feel good by acknowledging they’re there and everyone loves people who make them feel good.

The first time someone shows up, 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.

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!