This is the second in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series.
Name: The Long-Legged Level Jumper
Environment: Anywhere there is someone to impose on.
Behavior: The primary behavior of the Level Jumper is the request for activities which correspond to a relationship level higher than they have currently achieved. This can include sales, but is not limited to such. They may ask for donations to their favorite charity. They may include you on their mailing list. They may ask you to refer them to your network. They view anything as a reasonable request, but those around them will feel imposed upon and will start to avoid the Level Jumper like the plague.
Broken Rules of Good Networking: Don’t propose marriage on the first date. Good networkers know that relationships have to go through many levels. Asking for behavior that is above the current level would be just like the aforementioned premature marriage proposal. It serves only to put the other person on the defensive and will poison what might have been a productive and mutually beneficial relationship.
Counter-Measures: In this case, there are a number of things you can do. If you have just met the person, you may decide that in order to protect yourself and your reputation, you won’t continue with the relationship. Don’t call them again and if you see them, be cordial, but not encouraging. If you’ve got a little more invested in the relationship and you wish to continue to grow it, despite this gaffe, you might say something like, “I’d be glad to help you out in some way. Perhaps we can schedule a meeting so you can tell me a little bit more about this opportunity to invest in Alaskan alligator farms.”
How We Can Help: In this case you almost have to lead by example. Let them know that you aren’t quite comfortable with whatever they are planning without intentionally crushing their spirits. Personally I would say something to the effect of, “Wow, I would love to help out, but I’m not sure how best to help you. Could we take some time to get to know each other better? I would hate to do anything that would end up only wasting your time.”