To borrow from an old Johnny Carson bit called Carnac the Magnificent, the answer is “Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Arthur Catalanello.” My Red Sox-loving friends would surely answer, “Name three losers from New York.” I however, would proudly answer “Name three people who reached a professional milestone in 2011.”
Of course, I make the above comparison very tongue-in-cheek. I’m about to reach 1,000 connections on LinkedIn. While I’m not the first nor last to accomplish this, I do view it as a significant accomplishment for a few reasons:
- 100% of my connections are professionals who I have either met in person, worked with in a client-vendor relationship, or have had significant correspondence with. I am not an open-networker, so I know my LinkedIn network. I even state that requirement on my LinkedIn profile.
- I started to network in earnest in January 2009 when I was looking for employment. I’ve learned that networking is something you should do all the time, not just while unemployed. I try to embrace the mantra of “networking for life” and I continue to grow my network monthly.
- I’ve been able to use my network to facilitate valuable introductions for many people. Effective networkers embrace a “give to get” philosophy. When’s the last time you pro-actively did something for a member of your network?
I’ve met open-networkers (will connect with anyone who asks), closed-networkers (will only connect with the closest of friends or colleagues) and many in the middle of those extremes. Which approach is best? I’ll leave my opinion for another post at a future date. The short answer – you need to be comfortable with your approach. I am. Are you?