Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Card Collectors

Summer is officially behind us.  So are a majority of the annual conferences in the food industry.  Industry peers, have you collected a lot of cards this year?  More importantly, when was the last time you engaged with someone whose card you collected?

Read On:
Observation: People networking at conferences are good at collecting cards, but on the whole, they are not are not good at engaging.  What is engagement?  Asking that second or third question to drill down and find out more about the other individual’s work, family, pet llama, special interests, etc.  More importantly, listening!  Engagement also entails following up to solidify the connection, to lay the foundation for what will be a sustainable relationship.  Engagement is an ongoing process.  Engagement takes commitment. 

My point?  As an advocate of LinkedIn, I believe it has evolved into one huge online conference where people are making connections daily.  However, they are exhibiting the behavior of a card collector, only concerned about numbers versus forging sustainable relationships in their professional network.  I do know that some of you reading this post will disagree with me, but I am going to challenge you.  When was the last time you engaged with someone you connected with on LinkedIn as far back as back as 2010?  How about 2011?

Are you a card collector or do you enjoy “The Art of Engagement?”  Let me know.  Let’s engage.  


  1. Since the development of LinkedIn, I now --- as part of my followup after a conference or event --- send out LI invitations to those I have met. (I treat it as a bit of a game to try to send out an invitation to connect BEFORE I receive one from them). If they are NOT on LinkedIn, my email followup includes a link to my blog about the value of LI in developing your personal brand. If I get a response to either, they make it to my contact list. If not, their card goes in the trash.

  2. One issue I have with people in how they use LinkedIn is that they rarely give reasons for why they want to connect with you. I've received several invites to connect with others and most (but not all) I accept because I'm interested in building and expanding my network.

    However, it becomes a challenge when people simply rely on the default message instead of pointing out what it is that got you to notice the other person and why you want to connect with them.

    For example, some of my new connections on LinkedIn will write how they read a recent piece on my website or they attended one of my talks and they wanted to connect to learn more or discuss the topic.

    Right there, I know why they're interested and more importantly, they've given us a reason to talk and engage.

    So if there's one piece of advice I would add to your piece is not simply to collect virtual cards, but give reasons why you want to reach out to connect to start that conversation.

  3. Good advice, Tanveer...agreed. But let's face it: most LI members are only there to collect, because they simply don't get what it means to engage. For those of us who wish to go deeper, we bear the responsibility of using the platform correctly, regardless of what others choose to do. And we are blessed with the choice to ignore those who see it differently.

    Jimmy, you know how I feel about it!

  4. Excellent question Jimmy. Do we know how to engage? Are we willing to take the time to engage? Social media cuts to the chase, but it sure loses out on building relationships unless one really works at it.

  5. Jimmy, you reminded me that I haven't connected with you for awhile. I read your posts religiously, and always get great value, but haven't commented for some time. Having just returned from a conference and with half a stack of cards still to be followed up in front of me, your post is a double reminder.

    Hope you had a good summer. En France, peut etre? Thanks for your intelligent and insightful blogging!