Both men and women will pass up the chance to work with someone, no matter how well connected they may be if they know there is an ulterior sexual motive.

Look, by now we should all know there are right ways and wrong ways to network. Especially on Social Media. And you would think, in this modern day and age, that we wouldn’t have to write out guidelines for business interactions between grown-ups. But, based on both my own personal interactions and examples I’ve seen and heard from  my peers, men and women both, clearly we do.

So, without further ado: Here are some important social networking guidelines that apply across the board when you are reaching out as one professional to another. These apply to men, women, and anyone in-between.

  1. Do your research! When you contact an absolute stranger who happens to have crossed into your circle of business, make sure you are able to show them through your correspondence that you took some time to learn about them and their business. Striking up a conversation with something like, “Hello (insert name), It looks like we have some associates in common. I’d love to hear more about…” Under no circumstances should you ever send a message with a bland and semi-mysterious “hi.” Never do that. Ever. It sends up warning flags, and is highly unprofessional.
  2. Keep it on topic! When you start a professional conversation, especially with someone you don’t know, do not allow the conversation to devolve into anything less than the matter at hand: potential opportunities to collaborate, and/or the         project. When a person who has reached out under the guise of professionalism does this, the party on the receiving end   feels disrespected, less-than, and you lose any credibility you have just worked hard to prove.
  3. Stay Professional! Get into the mindset that there is never a right time to broach an unprofessional/inappropriate topic. Ever. If you want to do that, get yourself over to Tinder. The peeps over there love sexting. Seriously, it’s almost an art form for them. I’m sure the majority of business people and entrepreneurs I know wish they had never had to include the         potential of intercepting communications with sexual overtones when strategizing their business. Never, as I have been     engaged in strategizing my business have I included the potential of intercepting communication with sexual overtones.     Not once.

Bottom line: Don’t pull a personal bait and switch. When you approach a professional as a peer, they expect you to behave as a professional.


Original article appeared at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission.


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