Like most of you, I get a lot of requests for a lot of things. Too many, really. So I’ve had to put in policies to be able to cope. I like to provide a response (I feel it’s important to communicate the underlying rationale), so I have stock blurbs that I cut and paste (with an occasional edit for a specific context). I don’t want to repeat them here, but instead I want to be clear about why certain types of actions are going to get certain types of response. Consider this a public service announcement.
So, I get a lot of requests to link on LinkedIn, and I’m happy to, with a caveat. First, you should have some clear relationship to learning technology. Or be willing to explain why you want to link. I use LinkedIn for business connections, so I’m linked to lots of people I don’t even know, but they’re in our field.
I ask those not in learntech why they want to link. Some do respond, and often have a real reason (shifting to this field, their title masks a real role), and I’m glad I asked. Other times it’s the ‘Nigerian Prince’ or equivalent. And those will get reported. Recently, it’s new folk who claim they just want to connect to someone with experience. Er, no. Read this blog, instead. I also have a special message to those in learntech with biz dev/sales/etc roles; I’ll link, but if they pitch me, they’ll get summarily unlinked (and I do).
And I likely won’t link to you on Facebook. That’s personal. Friends and family. Try LinkedIn instead.
I get lots of emails, particularly from elearning or tech development firms, offering to have a conversation about their services. I’m sorry, but don’t you realize, with all the time I’ve been in the field, that I have ‘goto’ partners? And I don’t do biz dev: develop contracts and outsource production. As Donald H Taylor so aptly puts it, you haven’t established a sufficient relationship to justify offering me anything.
Then, I get email with announcements of new moves and the like. Apparently, with an expectation that I’ll blog it. WTH? Somehow, people think this blog is for PR. No, as it says quite clearly at the top of the page, this is for my learnings about learning. I let them know that I pay attention to what comes through my social media channels, not what comes unsolicited. I also ask what list they got my name from, so I can squelch it. And sometimes they have!
I used to get a lot of offers to either receive or write blog posts. (This had died down, but has resurrected recently.) For marketing links, obviously. I don’t want your posts; see the above: my learnings! And I won’t write for you for free. Hey, that’s a service. See below.
And I get calls with folks offering me a place at their event. They’re pretty easy to detect: they ask about would I like to have access to a specific audience,… I have learned to quickly ask if it’s a pay to play. It always is, and I have to explain that that’s not how I market myself. Maybe I’m wrong, but I see that working for big firms with trained sales folks, not me. I already have my marketing channels. And I speak and write as a service!
I similarly get a lot of emails that let me know about a new product and invite me to view it and give my opinion. NO! First, I could spend my whole day with these. Second, and more importantly, my opinion is valuable! It’s the basis of 35+ years of work at the cutting edge of learning and technology. And you want it for free? As if. Let’s talk some real evaluation, as an engagement. I’ve done that, and can for you.
As I’ve explained many times, my principles are simple: I talk ideas for free; I help someone personally for drinks/dinner; if someone’s making a quid, I get a cut. And everyone seems fine with that, once I explain it. I occasionally get taken advantage of, but I try to make it only once for each way (fool me…). But the number of people who seem to think that I should speak/write/consult for free continues to boggle my mind. Exposure? I think you’re overvaluing your platform.
Look, I think there’s sufficient evidence that I’m very good at what I do. If you want to refine your learning design processes, take your L&D strategy into the 21st century, and generally align what you do with how we think, work, and learn, let’s talk. Let’s see if there’s a viable benefit to you that’s a fair return for me. Lots of folks have found that to be the case. I’ll even offer the first conversation free, but let’s make sure there’s a clear two-way relationship on the table and explore it. Fair enough?