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Today’s communications exercise is a simple one:
When you’re done reading this blog, I’d like you to do the following:
Log into Facebook.
On the lefthand navigation pane, click on “Friends.”
Scroll through your friends list, and find six people with whom you haven’t spoken in at least six months.
Make a choice: Unfriend them, or write on their wall.
If you choose to unfriend them, know you’re doing so because if they’re in your network, you should be talking to them on a regular basis, fostering communication. It’s the original “networking.” It’s not about going to a networking party or the like. You should be cultivating everyone in your network at the least, several times a year. And remember – It’s not about you. You’re doing it to ask them what’s up, how they’re doing, what they’re working on with which you may be able to help.
If you choose to unfriend them, that’s fine, but know why you’re doing it.
On the other hand, if you choose to write on their wall, you’re stopping the cycle of ignoring. You’re ending the pattern of network-abuse, where you add people to your network with reckless abandon, and have no plans to follow through. You’re confronting the question of “Why is this person even in my network in the first place?” with a logical answer. You’re reaching out. That’s pure networking. That’s what leads to stronger bonds, tighter friendships, and yes, multi-million dollar contracts.
I say this in all my speeches to drive the above point home – in 2010, I can directly point to north of $200,000 in consulting work I received – not from people in my network, but from people in my network’s network – I.e., my friend’s friends asked them if they knew someone in the social media space, and I was top of mind to my friend – because I’d taken the time, on Facebook, to reach out.
You’re on Facebook, so this morning I ask you to make a choice. Unfriend, or reach out. Either answer will be the right one, but chances are, one will be much more rewarding over the long term than the other.
It’s your call.