After last week’s post, readers made some excellent comments regarding the value of large networks. A couple of people seemed to think that the focus of my post was entirely about numbers, and so I am back to clarify.
Building a large network of 30,000+ is part of the lifestyle I have chosen to ‘live out loud’ via social media. I accept people into my network on LinkedIn, always open to see how we may be able to work together, to see what value someone will share with me. It’s not about the numbers and it sure isn’t about me! It’s about allowing someone to reach out, shake my hand and say they want to be part of my network—part of my life—and then responding in a way that encourages them to continue the conversation.
I have met so many wonderful people with whom I have excellent relationships. Most of those I first connected with on LinkedIn, and most often by accepting their invitation to connect. Our networks intersected, we were interested in each other either professionally or personally, and the relationships took off from there.
I even met my business and life partner, Mike O’Neil, through a LinkedIn search of Denver, CO when I chose it as a place I wanted to visit. In this case, I did the search sorted by people with the most connections (because I believed they would be the most open to helping me), he came up at the top and responded positively when I reached out. That was circa April/May 2008. We met in person in September of that year and the rest is history.
Having a large network opens doors to meet people you may have never otherwise interacted with. You show up in searches and interact with people all over the world that you can reach with a large network. When my partner and I travel, we often post our travel plans on LinkedIn, keeping our connections updated. We search for people in the cities we are visiting and the airports we layover in, coordinating meetings when we can.
Having a large network has helped me cultivate amazing relationships; it is not a numbers game. It is a means of reaching out to people…people around the world…people I have the chance to call friend.