So LinkedIn is all about establishing great and useful professional connections with people. You joined LinkedIn so you could forge some great business contacts and find some interesting and influential leaders in your field. Yet all you seem to get are requests from headhunters or people you don’t really know (but somehow have your email, and have used this in the gmail/hotmail/yahoomail search feature to auto-add you). What do you do?
At this stage it’s easy to admit your ignorance of the system. You’re new to it, everyone’s new to it, and there’s a whole new set of social rules of play applied to this medium. But c’mon people, this isn’t Facebook – you can’t just add people you met on a study abroad programme four years ago. If you want LinkedIn to work for you, you have to make sure that you’re crafting meaningful relationships. So why not start off correctly – make sure you’re accepting new (and potentially unknown) connections to your network for a reason. What will you add to their professional network, and what could they add to yours?
There’s different ways of ensuring this, and making sure it all works, but this is the way I do it. I have the same little message that I send out to people that add me. It politely asks if I know them, and then inquires what they think that they will add to each of our networks by making this connection. Most of the time, I get a nice little reply saying that no, in fact, we have not met, but they are interested in abc which I have been involved in, or that we should discuss xyz. They’re also normally pleasantly surprised too that they get such a message and maybe even ask themselves why more people don’t do this. All in all it’s a good thing. And those people who choose not to reply, well, if they choose not to craft meaningful professional relationships, that’s their problem, and I’m not sure I want to connect with them.
So this is the script I use:
I may be totally wrong, but I’m not sure that we’ve met. Before I accept your invitation, may I ask why you think we should connect on LinkedIn and what we could bring to each other’s professional networks?
Thanks very much.
At the end of the day I figured that if I want to craft strong networks, and have them work (and be beneficial) to both them and for me, then I need to put in a little work in making them great. This is my little strategy to make sure that it gets off on the right foot. Feel free to use it, and let me know how it gets on.