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Building a network of people is a career asset and vital to working in today’s super connected world. I’ve been referencing posts lately that, to some, may seem dated but to me they are as relevant as ever. Why? You got it – most business leaders haven’t caught up yet. If you need to better understand how valuable networks can be, check out Athena Vongalis-Macrow’s post Assess the Value of Your Networks.

You can decide if you want your network open or closed on LinkedIn (go to Me >> Settings & Privacy >> Privacy >> Who can see my connections)

I’m often asked my opinion on which option is best. It’s strategic and situational.

I will say that it is important to be a good social citizen. Why not let others use your network? You may be wondering why this could be useful. Here are five ways that others can utilize your network:

  1. Take a look at my network and see who we share in common. Although you are already connected to these people, it may prompt you to reach out to them and set up a time to reconnect. You will also see who else you share in common including, perhaps, some of your competitors.
  2. Seeing my 1st level connections (your 2nd level connections) might uncover someone you are/have been looking to connect with that could be a good strategic partner, client or other. I may be connected to someone who could be your next strategic hire or who might know great talent and I can facilitate that introduction. Note: you are ONLY able to filter your 1st level connections if you are using Sales Navigator and when they have an open network. In, you will only be able to see and review someone’s 1st level connections if they have an open network).
  3. Going back to my network – learning is easy from the people in my network who are writing original content or posting articles and insight that may be helpful for you and your team to know and engage with. Take a look!
  4. Check out what LinkedIn Groups your connections belong to. You may find Groups that might be smart for you or your colleagues to join, especially in your local market.
  5. When others have access to your network, they can zero in on the people they are interested in connecting with, leveraging LinkedIn’s efficiency and effectiveness. This helps you and others “get s^*t done,” as one of my clients so eloquently puts it.

Ultimately, you become the Center of Influence; knowing and connecting others to the right people helps you help others. You create a hub of people who begin to rely on you. After all, being a good networker is about giving.

When you invest in others and help them build out their networks and engage proactively, people remember and are happy to return the favor. Networking is a two-way street, even for those who wield a large circle of influence.