April 25, 2011 Leave a comment
LinkedIn is a networking tool with many great features. And, LinkedIn is most valuable when you have contacts so, lets explore how you can add connections.
I see three options:
- Connect with everyone you possibly can and hope you will catch a good contact among all the ‘other’ ones
- Be selective and make contacts only with people you
- Know and/or
- Meet face-to-face and/or
- Have exchanged a few messages with
- Some combination between 1 & 2
To me, it’s not a popularity / numbers game – it’s a quality game where Truth and respect prevail. I don’t try to get as many contacts as possible. That said, my philosophy is to introduce myself if I think there’s relevance. If there’s a chance for us to add value over time (by sharing best practices, experience and potentially other business contacts), I believe it’s in each of our best interests for me to reach out.
Similar to face-to-face networking, mutual respect often turns relevant connections into valuable connections. Social Media opportunities like LinkedIn simply provide more chances to network with people from all over the world.
A Connecting Example: I’m in Toronto and am not looking to purchase real-estate in Florida so, I would not reach out to real-estate agents (I don’t already know), in Florida. However, if an agent offered an intelligent, insightful response to one of my LinkedIn Questions, I would try to connect hoping we could share more intelligent conversations (and perhaps connections), in the future.
As my example suggests, one of my favourite ways to connect is to ask people who have prepared a good answer to a LinkedIn Question I have posted (or someone else has posted). This shows they are active on LinkedIn and their character is one of sharing – not of only taking…
When I do invite people I try to start building familiarity by adding a personal message – for example, “We are both members of the Board of Trade“… or perhaps… “I found your answer to my question to be very interesting and thoughtful“.
Out-of-the-blue LinkedIn requests aside – what surprises me is how many people don’t include their email address within their profile. Seriously! If someone wants to contact you for a job, you are putting a road block in their way if you don’t share your email address. LinkedIn is Social Media… right?
- Try to connect with people who match your philosophy (inclusion = value for me/those in my network).
- You never know when a connection you’re interactive with – or who’s following your posts will become a new client. So, make connections and make sure you include a brief message explaining your connection and your intention.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is competed – an incomplete profile may suggest you don’t really care about networking – or that you don’t pay attention to detail.
Happy communication and email writing.
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