For some of us, a LinkedIn invitation is not such a big deal. We hardly ever decline invitations from people we do not know and the reasons behind this are usually flimsy. It is interesting how most of us are more cautious of who we are friends with on Facebook as compared to who we allow to connect with us on a social network for professionals.

There is a good reason for this. You see, what we put on Facebook and what we tweet is pretty personal stuff and we wouldn’t want to be seen having posted an update or photo on an early Friday drink when we were supposed to be on sick off. The professional profile on the other hand does not have that much information.

The tricky part however, is when one needs introductions to specific people. At such times, you realize that the people who can connect you to these people are few and hidden in the haystack that is your hundreds of connections.

The solution to this is what a contributor to the Harvard Review Blog called the Favor-test. It works quite well if you ask me. Before you respond to that invitation, ask yourself whether you would do a favour for that person or whether they would do the same for you. This is not the ‘Send me something via MPESA, I’ve just been arrested’ kind of favour. It is the, ‘would you attend this conference we are planning? I can then introduce to Collymore since he is one of the speakers.’ Kind of favour.

With this test you will have fewer people with whom you have connections. They, however, will rise to the occasion when you come calling looking for opportunities.