More Friend Requests and Less Meeting Requests

When talking about Facebook, a question I often get is whether or not you should accept people you aren’t actually friends with. For me, I have no problem accepting a friend request from someone I just met at a conference or at a tweet-up. If you want to be my friend on Facebook, I’ll accept. At the end of the day, people do business with people they like and somewhere in the evolution human-beings, people started to  “like” their friends.

In business, if a colleague, client or associate sends you a friend request on Facebook – embrace it. By adding them as a friend you’re opening yourself up to an opportunity where you’re able to develop a stronger relationship with this person after hours.

Why Add Colleagues to Facebook?

Facebook presents you with a great opportunity to learn about your network on a personal level that you would not be able to have in a more professional and formal setting. Facebook makes it easier for you to remember their birthday, kids names, anniversaries and overall just strike up personal conversations more frequently.

I know some of you are thinking, I don’t want to blend my personal life with my professional life. Well…

YOU DONT HAVE TO! There are tons of ways to use the privacy settings on Facebook to prevent this from happening. (I’ll share some secrets in another post)

Increased Efficiency from Facebook?

I believe that adding colleagues and clients to Facebook can actually lead to an increase in efficiency at work. If you’re working on a project with someone and they just happen to be on Facebook at the same time you are, you’re able to flip them a  message via Facebook chat if you have a question or concern. They’ll be notified and you’ll get a response in real time. From there, if more questions need to be asked both of you are able to work on your to-do list while having a communicating about a

project. As a result, you don’t need to go through your calender and look for a time that works for the two of you to meet. You’ve accomplished exactly what you would accomplish with a meeting request all because you accepted at friend request!

Friend Requests > Meeting Requests

Now, I’m not saying Facebook is a meeting replacement. No, I’m saying Facebook presents an opportunity to cut back on pointless meetings and increase efficiency. Meeting requests need to die a slow and painful death. Typically, a meeting request is only necessary because of a lack of communication within an organization or within a specific team.

Every minute you spend in a meeting is a minute you could have spent doing something meaningful. 37 Signals breaks it down like this:

There’s nothing more toxic to productivity than a meeting.
Here’s a few reasons why:

  • They break your work day into small, incoherent pieces that disrupt your natural workflow
  • They’re usually about words and abstract concepts, not real things (like a piece of code or some interface design)
  • They usually convey an abysmally small amount of information per minute
  • They often contain at least one moron that inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense
  • They drift off-subject easier than a Chicago cab in heavy snow
  • They frequently have agendas so vague nobody is really sure what they are about
  • They require thorough preparation that people rarely do anyway

For those times when you absolutely must have a meeting (this should be a rare event), stick to these simple rules:

  • Set a 30 minute timer. When it rings, meeting’s over. Period.
  • Invite as few people as possible.
  • Never have a meeting without a clear agenda.

What do you think? Are you a fan of adding colleagues to Facebook? Why or why not?

Would love to hear what you think!

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