LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – Wherever you are online, it’s all about networking. While we may have different networking needs and objectives. We all have something to offer which would benefit someone else and we all could use some help from time to time, even if it is as simple as a fresh perspective on our blog design or feedback on items for sale on our site. With the investment of only a few minutes, each of us has the opportunity to offer much appreciated assistance to someone else.

help-phone

Even when it doesn’t seem like it, each time we connect with one another, we’re building a relationship. Depending on the nature of that contact, it may or may not be a positive one, but it is the beginning of a relationship nonetheless. It may never go any further than this, it may turn into a friendship, it may result in something more business-related. The point is, we never really know. If we don’t reach out to someone new and offer our best, we know with certainty where that will lead – nowhere.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I asked a simple question on Twitter a few days ago – How can I help you today? Several requests came in and many offered to help. There was a ripple effect as participants tweeted about their participation drawing others in, forging new connections along the way.

The response was so enthusiastic and genuine, I am planning to do this every Wednesday for as long as people are interested and responding.

The guidelines for participation are simple:

  • Be generous – Share your thoughts, feedback and expertise without an expectation of receiving something in return.
  • Be honest – If you see areas in which someone could improve, please note them and make recommendations wherever possible.
  • Be kind – Respect that you’re giving feedback on work done by people at various skills levels. We are all still learning and doing our best. Tact and kindness will go a long way!
  • Be specific – When asking for help, tell us exactly what you need, rather than “tell me what you think of my blog.” The same goes for offering feedback.
  • Be realistic – If you request something which takes more than a few minutes, it is less likely that you will get the input you seek. Asking someone to read your entire blog and let you know how they’d suggest changing it might require more time than someone is able to offer.
  • Be grateful – When someone offers feedback or ideas, please thank them publicly on Twitter – even if you don’t agree with their input. (Important note: do not @reply to them because very few people will see this. Rather, something like “Thanks to @someone for your help in reviewing my blog.” This way your followers get a chance to meet someone new along with you.)
  • Pay it forward – Offer more than you ask and don’t ask if you aren’t willing to help others.
  • Finally, keep in mind that if your question can be answered through a google search, perhaps you might want to search google rather than asking a question here.

To Participate:

  1. Tweet your request including the tag #canihelp anytime prior to Tuesday 9:00 pm PST (California time)
  2. All requests for feedback, suggestions and input will be posted here by Wednesday morning PST
  3. Be sure to view the requests and offer assistance to as many as you’re able through the comments
  4. Spread the word, including the #canihelp tag, especially on Wednesday!

I’m excited to see what might happen when we step outside ourselves to help a stranger. What do you think? Are you game?

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markhillary