Drawing the Line

Reputation is everything. We have an obligation to make responsible choices about who we put in touch with our personal contacts.

Last week I received a request from a distant acquaintance (Frank) to introduce him to one of my contacts, a very high level executive named Sara.

The only context that Frank mentioned is that he wanted to connect with Sara because he wanted to get his company’s products in front of her.

Ouch. This felt uncomfortable.

Sara is someone I know through my personal circle. I don\’t know her extremely well, but we have a couple of friends in common and have had dinner together once or twice. I have a great deal of respect for her and what she has achieved. Sara is a very powerful person in the business community.

Frank is a good person and a highly competent professional. I\’d be happy to help him. But I couldn\’t justify putting him in touch with Sara so he could give a sales pitch.

I called Frank and explained why I couldn\’t pass along his LinkedIn request. He understood.

For the most part, LinkedIn is about being open and helping people stay connected. But we need to be thoughtful about our requests and respecting peoples\’ privacy.

Sometimes we have to draw the line.


3 Responses

  1. You make a very good point here. In my line of work, I am constantly being asked by my higher ups to get in the faces of the people we do business with. “Polite pushy” is the term with them. A bit different than what you are mentioning but nevertheless very similar. There are many times when I will continue to pursue an office but in my mind there comes a point where it becomes obnoxious. Of course, I want the company to succeed since I personally want to succeed as well but I have created relationships with some of these offices and to keep being in their faces just doesnt seem right to me. I just cannot seem to find a happy medium but it is good to know that I am not the only one that understands this. Good stuff!

    • Hi Justine, Thanks for your post. You bring up a very crucial dilemma and it seems to be a difference in philosophies between professionals of integrity and some ‘higher ups’ who are impatient to see revenue stream. You seem to look at the long term strategy of building relationships, as opposed to “pushing to get the sale”. Maybe you should be leading the ship! Relationships are the most important aspect of doing business. You’re right – if the potential client or customer feels pushed or intruded upon – that’s the beginning of the end of the relationship. Perception is everything. During these troubled times, it’s best to build a rapport and provide your potential customers with information and open communications rather than obnoxious pushiness. In the long run, it will come back around. Trust your judgment and your intuition…it sounds like they are right on target.

  2. This was a great article and it articulates the importance of thinking through the cycle of sending out any type of networking request with respect to putting a friend or aquaintance in an uncomfortable position. In the long run this type of networking can work against you.
    Thank you for making us aware that to think first about how the other person may possibly interpret the connection before overstepping the bounds of open networking.

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