To coin a phrase from the gorgeous Chris Evans….”Here’s the thing”……….
I recently attended a women’s networking event; which was all rather strange in itself as this was advertised as a Women in Business Event but actually had men attending! This piece is all about inclusion and embracing the people you meet, so good on them, how brave I thought; albeit I also thought it rather belied the name and purpose of the event and in some cases diluted the messages of the lady speakers. After all this was a women’s networking event and I (and I know others) did find it a little disconcerting to have a man touting his wares and using the event to flog his services!
No matter, back to the plot….to “here’s the thing”………one of the break-out workshops was a session on ‘Personal Branding’ which unbeknown to me I had been assigned to attend. The speaker was fun and engaging but most definitely could not be described as a professional speaker; maybe it was the swearing that gave it away! Nevertheless this did not distract too much from the key messages she wanted to deliver.
There were of course all the usual personal branding messages about appearance, smiling, being open etc and also about how important it is to network, to get your brand ‘out there’; to create a good first impression. This speaker made a great play at not being afraid to take the bull by the horns and be master of one’s own destiny. As an example of this she stated firmly that when attending any networking event you should never leave a person you might have ‘touched base’ with, or been involved with in a longer conversation without exchanging business cards. Therefore when we met in the bar afterwards I thanked her for her interesting talk and gave her my card.
The next day she invited me to join her on Twitter and LinkedIn which I was more than happy to do. But ‘here’s the thing’……….when I accepted her LinkedIn invitation I noticed that she had ‘hidden’ her contacts from me. Now I always find it really odd that people join a business networking site and then ‘hide’ their connections!
I know and appreciate that LinkedIn has the facility to do this, however this lady met me at a networking event, she had spoken at some length for an hour in fact about personal branding and networking. I therefore don’t feel that I am being unreasonable to think it odd that she would hide her network from me. In my heart I don’t believe this is quite in the spirit of how LinkedIn is supposed to work!
Furthermore I truly believe that if one is brilliant at their job, if you have created a good first impression and people generally like you because you are open, honest and genuine and embrace the people you meet and do business with then nobody being invited into your network is surely a real threat.
I guess that there are givers and takers in this world and that when people who profess to be active net workers, purporting to be givers when in reality they are really takers, then sadly people like me get mugged, which is most irksome. As part of her talk this lady spoke about the importance of making a good first impression, well all I can say is that she has left a lasting impression on me. With one quick click of the ‘hide my contacts’ button this lady has wiped out all the good messages she had delivered in her talk, and in doing so has told me all I needed to know about her……..I will let you guess whether this was a good or bad first impression!
So …”here’s the thing”……..what is your view….Link-up or Lock out?