I was speaking with someone who asked me how he should connect with people on LinkedIn. Together we looked at what I consider the best way to connect with someone (through someone’s profile), but there are four other ways I showed him how to connect with others on LinkedIn.
So how might one connect, you wonder.
Through someone’s profile–the best way
This is the best way to connect with someone. Why? Because you actually take the time to read the person’s profile to see if you want this person in your network. I happened upon someone who does very similar work and is a career-advice blogger. I had to connect with him.
You find someone’s profile by searching for him/her using LinkedIn’s awesome search engine or selecting that person from “People You May Know,” found at the top right-hand corner of your homepage. You’ll see the box below, where you’ll indicate how you know your potential connection.
LinkedIn asks you how you know this person. Of the seven criteria, David and I are in the same LinkedIn group. Great luck. As I don’t qualify for any of the other criteria. What I dislike is when someone I don’t know tries to connect with me as a “Friend” when they don’t know me. Claiming to be a “Colleague,” “Classmate,” or “We’ve done business together,” Also ruffles my feathers when none of it’s true. But being in the same group/s means we’re like-minded.
Important note: always write a personal note similar to the one you see in the box below. To send the default message is poor laziness.
Through an introduction–proper but slow
This is considered proper etiquette when you want to connect with one of your first degree’s connections. You ask your first degree to introduce you to the person with whom you’d like to connect. A LinkedIn purist may believe this is the only way to connect, but I think this policy is a bit extreme, as well as taking a long time to accomplish.
Go to the desired person’s profile and choose Get introduced next to the Send Inmail button. This will bring you to a command that asks you who should make the introduction.
Craft a professional message, understanding that the person making the introduction might send your message straight through, along with a message of his own. If your intention is to ask to connect, your wish may be granted, but this method usually takes longer than it would to simply try to connect.
The person I chose as an example is not in any of my groups; thus I would not feel good about trying to connect directly…unless, of course, I indicate he’s a “Friend” and in the not beg his forgiveness.
Who’s visited your profile–getting around the default message
Everyone I know is curious about who’s visited their profile. Aren’t you? You can, with impunity, connect with anyone who visits your profile and discloses their identity. What I mean by this is you don’t have to state how you are related to said person…and you can still write a personal note.
I’m a bit conflicted with this method of connecting. While I don’t believe one should have to request an introduction every time he/she wants to connect with someone, I do believe there should be some relationship, such as belonging to the same group.
Mass mailing-invite–for beginners
Like a tooth ache, you’re reminded on every page that you can send an invite through your e-mail contact list. Simply click on the icon to the immediate left of your photo to see a command like the one to the right. Select your e-mail provider, follow the prompts, and connect to your heart’s desire.
This is one of the least effective way to connect, as it doesn’t allow you to send a personal note. I’ve complained bitterly about people who just connect willy-nilly.
However, if you’re just starting out, you may want to use this way to connect.
From your phone–the ugly
If you’re on the fly, you can connect from your mobile device. The LinkedIn app makes connecting on your phone as easy as clicking a button…literally. This is the epitome of laziness–here I go again–as there is no option to write a personal note.
I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees to avoid using this method and, rather, wait until they’re sitting at their computer so they can connect using the first or even second method. I also tell them if they want to connect with me, they’ll need to include a personal note, which most of them neglect to do. Oh well.
The good, bad, and the ugly
There you have five ways to connect with people on LinkedIn. You may call me old fashion for choosing the first method, visiting a person’s profile, to connect. Or asking for an introduction. At the very least connecting with people who’ve visited your profile. But to connect with someone through a mass e-mail or by phone is pure blasphemy.