Excerpt from Seven Days to Online Networking (JIST © 2008).
1. Look and listen before you leap. On all online networking platforms, spend some time observing the tone, content and contributors before joining the discussion. First impressions are lasting ones. Make sure that the first impression others have of you is favourable.
2. Help other people achieve their networking goals. Willingly facilitate introductions and consistently suggest resources and people who might be helpful to your contacts.
3. Don’t spam your network contacts. Being pushy and self-serving will damage your online reputation, and the damage may be irreparable.
4. Keep your word. Follow through on any actions you promise to take. And do so in a timely manner.
5. Show appreciation when others provide assistance to you and to your contacts. Saying “thank you” is always appropriate and will encourage that person to provide assistance again.
6. Don’t overwhelm your contacts with too many requests for introductions and assistance. Be considerate of their time and never give their e-mail addressess to others without permission.
7. Be respectful, courteous and honest in all of your online networking activities. Be positive and professional. Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want aired on national news or shared with your mother!
8. Keep in mind that you are communicating with a global audience and that your language usage and cultural references might need to be understood by a very diverse set of people.
9. Allow time for networking. Make networking a part of your plan. It’s the No. 1 source for new jobs and new clients. Focus on becoming a skilled networker and budget time in your schedule for both online and offline networking activities.
10. Give and take. Networking is always about builidng relationships, not just seeking favours. It must ultimately benefit both parties. If you think only about what you need and want from the interaction, you will miss many opportunities to share expereinces and enrich your life.