Sunday, January 25, 2009

Many Benefits of being a Linked In Open Networker (LION)

Hi again... the below is from a response to someone asking about all the Open Networkers asking for invitations on  If you are not aware of LinkedIn, please visit there, set up a profile, and ask me to connect with you.  There are now specialists who teach how to leverage this free resource, but, I'm simply copying and pasting a response to an inquiry below for your brief education...

There are a wide variety of benefits to having a large network, both in person and online. For example, after hearing how America is loosing jobs at a rate not seen since 1945, I started a group called College Graduate Job Hunters just today, and sent out a quick invitation to 1,700+ of my direct connections in just a few clicks. No doubt that as this group grows, it will be of service to recent college grads seeking employment in a very competitive environment... and having a larger network will make it grow faster. 

Further, there is a tradition on LinkedIn and other sites of being an "Open Networker." These folks, also called LIONs (Linked In Open Networker), both grow their own personal direct connections but also leave them viewable by other direct connections. So, when HR recruiter friends of mine are looking for a particular talent, with me as a direct connection, they can see the direct connections I have ...again, since I keep them open. 

So, yet another example, a friend of mine, Derrick Hembt, was searching through the 30 million profiles for a certain type of client. He noticed that one of them was only 2 degrees away... and that I had a direct connection with his target. Derrick asked if I would introduce him and state simply my confidence in Derrick's ability to serve his clients. Which I promptly did, using a LinkedIn introduction. Now Derrick is able to start a dialogue with this prospective client. 

When I answered a question posed by one of my direct connections (someone who I had not yet met) in a discussion group, he like my answer so much (and my profile, no doubt) that he picked up the phone and, because he could see my phone number as a direct connection, inquired about my business coaching service. Wouldn't you like prospective clients calling you, already impressed? 

Another one of my direct connections sent me an Executive Summary of his start up, asking if I knew of anyone who would like to review it. Since he knows that I have a large online and offline network, it was likely that I could help him find an investor. After reviewing his Executive Summary, I will be sending him a handful of very qualified investors, and with my further due diligence, I may decide to invest some of my own money with him. I'm sure he will be glad that I am an Open Networker and that he saw my invitation to connect and invited me. 

These are just a few reasons that playing the role of Open Networker on LinkedIn is advantageous for you and for your associates. One big happy family helping each other find partners, investors, employees, clients, or get hired. And, just imagine, for most of us on LinkedIn, it is a free service. 

However, there are others on LinkedIn who choose to use this as simply a way to keep track of their personal friends and associates, and don't make them viewable to anyone else. That's fine. So.... you can be a private "closed" networker or you can be an Open Networker, seeking to connect directly with potential associates from all over the world. It's your choice. Use this service as you see fit. I find it benefits everyone that I know to be a LION. 

I tend to be a Philanthropic Entrepreneur, I "show up giving." I activate the Law of Reciprocity. I offer something of value in order to begin the relationship. I give access to a large and growing network, both on LinkedIn and in person, to those who would find that valuable. And, only in my signature do I mention how I help small business owners. Just like in-person networking, I first find out how I can help someone I just met...Introduce them to a prospective client, etc., I don't start bragging about my achievements. 

I recommend that you not only set up a profile on but also decide to become an Open Networker.  

To Your Success, 

Andrew Barden 
Philanthropic Entrepreneur 
“Love Your Clients. Love Your Profits. Love Your Life.” 866-339-4619 

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