Networking is important for everyone, no matter what your skill set or roll in your organization. For some, it is an avenue to increasing sales. Others have a networking goal of making connections to help solve problems for their customers. It may not increase their revenues but creates a strong relationship with their client. Lastly, you may network with the intent to find your next employment opportunity. It is considered that 80% of the available jobs are found within the hidden job market.
Networking has evolved and now includes connecting with people on an on line basis. I don’t mean becoming a ‘friend’ with someone on Facebook, but connecting with someone on LinkedIn.
We have all received connection requests from people we don’t know. And I am sure that we have all received the template request from those people. How interested are you in connecting with someone who send you are request that says “Hi, I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.”
From reading those invites, I don’t see a reason to accept them. Now, on the other hand, if the invite was personalized with information that is found in my profile, I am more likely, at the very least, take a look at the person’s profile and accept their connection.
Wouldn’t you be more interested in connection with someone if you knew that they took the time to get to know you before sending out the invitation?
I accepted the below connection because it had some personal element in it, and I will admit, I actually know the person in real life.
Even if I had forgotten who Matt was from his picture or his name, my memory would be jogged by the fact that I actually met the person at a mixer hosted by SEBA.
When sending out a connection request to someone you may or may not know, you want to ensure that:
Profile: You took time to read and review the person’s profile. You may have worked for a common employer, but at a different location.
Personalize: Personalize your connection invitation with information that you know about the person or you have learned from their LinkedIn profile.
Reason: Give someone a reason to connect with you. Maybe you know someone who has advanced knowledge of their industry and you want to do an introduction. Maybe you want to work with them.
If you take the time to make a connection invitation something unique to that person, you are helping to develop an unique relationship with them.
After you have connected with them, don’t forget, follow up is still required. The relationship building process doesn’t stop with an on line connection, it is just a part of the journey which doesn’t end.
Do you accept all generic LinkedIn connection request? What is your criteria for accepting an invitation? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Have a great week.
Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.