, love you, your stuff is great, but in this case I couldn't agree less. Given, I don't get as many requests as you do, but just like anyone, I get requests out of the blue.
If you are going to make a request, yes, use the protocol and start out by saying "How are you doing?" or "It's been a long time since we spoke." Do that in the same mail as the ask. If you want me to link you to someone I know, just tell me. Don't ask me to waste my time and yours answering you about how business is going great, kids are fine, blah blah blah, when what you want is for me to "+1" your post. It's a waste of my time and yours.
You don't have to pretend to like me for two reasons. 1 -- If you contacted me, I assume you like me. I like you, too. Thanks for thinking of me. 2 -- As you remind us repeatedly, Chris, networking is about giving. You're asking me for a favor? GREAT! I get the opportunity to put some Karma into the Karma pot. If you are a total stranger, also great. I will be honest about what I can and can't do for you. I can't recommend you if I don't know you, but please, skip the formality and make the ask. In other words, every time I get asked for a favor, I see it as an opportunity to help a fellow human being on this planet.
To me, it's more important that you get straight to the point. Make the request totally clear. Don't say "I have a business opportunity" if you want me to join your MLM. Don't say "I'm considering a career change" if you want to know about openings in my company. Just make the ask, please. Also, don't just drop me a line from time to time so that one day you can make an ask. That's a waste of your time. If you see something I'd like, by all means. If you just miss me, by all means. It's not that I don't have time to chat with my friends. I always have time to chat with my friends and usually with strangers too. If you want to chat, say, "I want to chat." Cool, I'm in.
The best business deals I've done typically come from a gratuitous ask with no conditions. "Hey, I had some idea, do you have time for coffee?" "Hey, you're going my way, can I get a ride?" "Hey, I want to get into your field of work, can you give me some advice on what course to take?" You would not believe how much business comes in this way. +Colleen Newvine
, agree, nobody wants to feel used and taken advantage of. That means you have to set boundaries and say "No". Sleazy people will keep asking for stuff. That's life. But the bottom line truth is that we can't do much of anything worthwhile alone. We just can't. We need each other, and every contact, whether a request or an offer, is an opportunity.