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How to do LinkedIn Better . . . Lesson 11. New Connections.

It’s interesting the way people choose to connect but not engage with their new connections.

As if the number of connections you have is the most important element, not the value of and engagement with those connections.

Daily I receive ‘connection requests,’ more often than not with no introduction or reason behind it . . . which confuses me.

Don’t get me wrong – I have done the same thing. I’m pretty sure most of us have.

About 60% of those people agree to the connection, 40% ignore the request which is understandable because you haven’t said why you’d like to be connected.

So, what’s your reason for requesting the connection?

  • Is it because LinkedIn recommended you connect with them due to location, role, mutual connections or common organisation?

  • Is it because you have noted a post they did or a comment they made and thought ‘mmm I like what they’ve said’?

  • Is it because they have posted a role you want?

  • Or a course you want to do?

  • Or because of their role and you want to get into their organisation or form a partnership with their business?

If you are open and honest about this up front you are much more likely to (1) have them accept the request and (2) engage with you. . . . not always, but more likely.

I try to send a message which says something like:

  • ‘LI has recommended we connect and I notice we both have a number of mutual acquaintances, it would be great to become part of the same network’ or,

  • ‘You posted a role which I am very interested in, here’s a little bit about me . . . (1-2 sentences on why I fit the specification). . . . Perhaps we should talk?’ or,

  • ‘I saw a post you did and I really resonated with what you said because. . . (explain why) . . . and would love to become part of the same community.’

This explains WHY I would like to connect, it starts to build a bridge and an understanding. It will also result in much better engagement. LinkedIn connections are not a notch on the bedpost (and yes I know some people think of them as that) they are professionals you can build great working relationships, networks and even friendships with.

Likewise when I receive a connection request and accept it (which is most of the time) I like to send a quick message saying Hi. It’s always simple it may just be ‘Hi, thanks for the connection request and welcome to my LI community. It is great to connect with you, Sally’ . . . I try to do this all the time but have to admit at the start of this year I missed about 150 new connections and still haven’t managed to catch up . . . renovating an apartment, snowboarding, building a business and contracting COVID all played a part – so if I owe you a Hello and haven’t done this, I am sorry, and

‘Hello and Welcome to my LinkedIn Community. Thank you for reaching out and inviting me to share in yours. Please feel free to drop me a message if you want to talk further and apologies for not touching base sooner, sometimes life gets in the way.

A result of this willingness to take the time to quickly connect and say ‘Hi’ has built some excellent relationships and created some brilliant opportunities.

I’d advise don’t go in for the hard sell. . . nothing is more frustrating than a new connection trying to bombard you instantly with a product they want you to buy. By all means say who you are and what you do ‘I specialise in building and rescuing PMOs as well as running a CV writing business,’ but don’t ask them to buy your product immediately. . . that’s a bit pushy and usually just makes people veer away from you. . . . well in the UK anyway. Other countries may be very different but I’m not an expert on them.

How do I know all this? Well, I’ve made all of the mistakes above. I learn by doing, watching the results and patterns and then adjust accordingly.

My connections on LinkedIn are my most valuable professional asset. They are amazing at helping me when I need it and I am always happy to help them. Throughout lock-down they have also been an incredible source of positivity, support and inspiration. Over the past few months there have been days where it has been my LI connections who have put a smile on my face, or taught me something valuable or have just reached out to say hi.

I’ve learned about garden gymnastics with the kids, the trials of home schooling, working in Morrisons, partners with immune challenges and cats who wake them at 3:00 a.m. to name just a few things.

I have tried to respond to everyone who has reached out – sometimes I fail – even if I can’t help to acknowledge their request and let them know they’ve been heard.

Now this has gotten very deep when all I really wanted to say was – when you connect, do so with purpose and it will pay dividends.

Oh, and don’t be afraid to disconnect with someone if they are posting things which offend and annoy you, being connected is optional.

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