April 10, 2012


it's that timeAs time passes, your network grows and needs trimming. Cutting some branches gives you time and energy to devote to the rest.

For simplicity, consider your LinkedIn network where the pruned aren't notified of their fate.

Establish Criteria

You might want to limit your network based on criteria like geography, industry or interests. I'm more concerned about quality. For years, I’ve tended to connect to "good" people. Now I’ve become more selective and strategic.

I'm pruning three groups in particular
  1. insurance advisors: used to be my clients (and the original reason for this blog) and then collaborators (see can an advocate serve two masters?); some have been annoying my connections with inappropriate behaviour
  2. coaches: was looking for coaches to help my network; generally unimpressed; their techniques seem outdated
  3. social media "experts": was looking for experts to recommend but found too many fakers
  4. recruiters: hide their own connections; rarely show visible signs of sharing

Look For Clues

When I see misbehaviour, I make a note in a spreadsheet called LinkedOut. This is where I list contenders for pruning.

The inappropriate actions might be too much self-promotion, irrelevant information, too frequent updates or getting put on a mailing list without permission. Or worse.

I'm especially looking for connections who show generosity. I don't mean the buy-now-and-get-a-discount crowd. I'm seeking those who share valuable nothing-to-buy information on a regular basis without quitting. That's rare and valuable.


Occasionally, I'll check my LinkedOut spreadsheet and do the actual cutting. I'll make note of the date and reason for future reference. I have several other fields such as how many connections they have and how many we share.

This year, I've trimmed 3.06% of my network for various infractions. I found two big surprises.
1. Poaching
A connection with 112 connections shared 36 with me. It's very unlikely she'd know all 36 because I’m in diverse circles. I'm guessing she was burrowing into my network and adding connections by implying that I endorsed her. That wasn't true. How sneaky.
2. Camouflage
Some connections with over 500+ connections were sneaky too. They hid their own connections. Where's the reciprocity? They're guarding their own connections while wearing camouflage to add their connections’ connections. How can you trust someone like that?


Unless you prune regularly, your garden becomes unkempt. We're judged by the company we keep. Are you creating the right impressions?


PS Repeat regularly

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