What is Open Networking?

Another interesting and somewhat heated debate from last night’s LinkedIn Live Philly event was about those people who are “open networkers.” You may see the term “LION” as part of their LinkedIn profile. Typically, open networkers have many thousands of connections. And their goal is probably to connect with everyone.

Ed Callahan, one of the panelists, talked about the value of a connection. For Ed, connecting should be meaningful. Yes, he has lots of connections, but he talked about how he has actually met and talked and connected with every person in his contacts. Ed is a very powerful connector.

The discussion reminded me of something that I had previously posted…

3. Only invite people that you know and trust.
If you would feel strange about calling someone on the phone and having a conversation, perhaps you shouldn’t invite that person to connect.

4. Just because someone invites you doesn’t mean you have to accept.
If you don’t know the person well or at all, perhaps you shouldn’t connect. Call the person wanting to connect and schedule a time to have coffee or something to strengthen your relationship.

A few people mentioned that it is useful to have a couple of these “LIONs” in your network as it can sometimes help in the sales process. You simply have access to a larger database. But if the connection is fleeting at best, what is the ultimate value?