How To Avoid The First Networking Mistake On LinkedIn
How do you find networking online? On one hand, I personally find it can be easier (and quicker) than in person. On the other hand, I see how people are constantly bombarded with information on social media and in their inbox, and you really need to look for ways to cut through the noise. In addition to that, and even more importantly, you need to keep a human approach to it, regardless of the fact that it’s happening behind a screen.
It’s quite easy to make networking mistakes online, even if they are totally not intentional. I see this happening a lot on LinkedIn when people send their connection requests to professionals they want to connect with. Clearly, they are looking to build their contacts, stay in touch, follow that person’s work and updates, or create a relationship that could in return create opportunities.
That’s all great, but it often starts (or doesn’t start at all) with a generic non-customised connection request.
In my video below, I talk about how this “tiny mistake” can prevent you from making a good first impression, building relationships and creating opportunities on LinkedIn. I also give my tips on how you can easily avoid it.
Examples of connections requests you can use instead of the standard LinkedIn connection request:
Scenario 1. You’ve already met that person and you would like to add them to your LinkedIn contacts.
“Hi Paul, it was very nice meeting you at [place / event] and I really enjoyed our conversation on [topic]. I would love to add you to my LinkedIn network and stay in touch. Please also let me know if there’s anything I can help you with regarding [topic you talked about / other relevant topic]. Thank you, Veronica”
Scenario 2. You’ve never met that person but you have something in common with them (related to your role / industry / school).
“Hi Laura, we never met before but I really admire your experience in [role / industry] and I noticed that we both studied at [school]. I would love to connect with you and add you to my LinkedIn contacts. Thank you, Veronica”
Scenario 3. You’ve never met that person but you would like to connect with them because they could be potential clients or people you could collaborate with.
“Hi Anna, I’m always on a lookout for interesting professionals / entrepreneurs in [sector] and I would love to connect with you. Please also let me know if there’s anything I can help you with. I am [briefly introduce yourself and the value you offer]. Thank you, Veronica"
You can mix elements of these examples or find other possibilities that work for you. What’s important, is that you think about the outcome you would like to create from that connection before drafting your message. Do you want to connect with that person because you admire their work and simply would love to have them in your network, or is it because you believe that connecting with them could lead to an opportunity of working with them, or being introduced to someone you would love to work with?
Finally, I also want to add this important note: If you don’t want to start with the wrong foot or being completely ignored, please avoid asking for favours before having connected with that person. Focus first on creating a relationship, showing your interest in that person and the value you can offer to them.