Tag Archives: LinkedIn etiquette

4 steps to take—at minimum—to ask for a favor on LinkedIn

Very recently I received an invitation from someone to be in their network. At first I was pleased to see “See more” below the person’s Headline. This was promising, as it means the person had taken the time to personalize the invite.

Being Polite

In some cases the personalized invites are flattering, telling me how much they enjoyed reading a post I had written. In other cases the requester tells me how we know each other; maybe he attended one of my workshops. In a few cases the person might elaborate on how we met, using all the 300 characters allotted for an invite.

At the end of the invite, the good ones write, “Please let me know if I can be of assistance.”

Almost never do I get a request in the first invite to have me review her LinkedIn profile, which begins with, “Can you review my profile?” That’s it. No flattery, no explaining how we know each other. But this one said exactly that.

What I did

The first thing I did was to click ignore without a second thought. No regret or guilt. After all, I do the same when there is no personalized invite, indicating no effort and plain laziness.

Then I shared on LinkedIn my experience with some of my valued connections. The post was not meant to be a complaint as much to as to be a learning moment. However, the conversation took off and and is still brewing.

The comments mostly support my thoughts on the rude way the individual asked me to review his profile. Some write I was being a bit harsh and should have understood some people don’t understand LinkedIn etiquette.

None say I was completely out of line with my action. As I said, the conversation is still brewing, so I’m bound to get “You’re being the LinkedIn police, Bob.” I hope it doesn’t come to this, but I firmly believe that one shouldn’t ask for a favor in their first invitation.

When should one ask for a favor, deliver the ask?

At minimum there are four steps you should take before delivering the “ask.” Whether you’re asking for services or trying to sell a product, you need to develop a relationship with the person from whom you need a favor.

1. The initial introduction: Most of us are on LinkedIn to help each other; this is our community. However, there is etiquette one must follow. First, a proper invite is required.

“Bob, I’ve followed your posts on LinkedIn and many of them resonate with me. I’d like to connect with you so I can have direct access to your articles. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.”

Your invitation is accepted and you are now first degree connections, so your next step is to thank your new connection for accepting you to their network. This is still not the time to make the “ask.”

2. Get noticed by your new connection. There should be at least one more correspondence or interaction, perhaps a comment on a shared idea or post. Even a like would count as an interaction; although not as significant as a comment. You are on your new connection’s radar.

3. You should comment on one or more shares from your new connection. It’s not hard to discover what your connection shares; simply go to their profile and click “See all activity” under the person’s Activities and Articles section.

4. You’re established. After the second or third interaction is your chance to make the “ask.” You still want to be diplomatic, not blunt, in your request. Send a direct message from your connection’s profile. Go ahead; don’t be afraid to hit the message button (seen below).
message button

“Hi Bob. I’ve enjoyed being in your network. I’ve learned more about what you do, and I’ve read your profile. On your profile you say you will briefly review your connections’ profile. Would you kindly review mine at your convenience. I appreciate your expertise. Again, let me know if I can help you.”

At this time your connection should be willing to do a favor for you. I know I would. The most important thing is feeling out your new connection to see if they’re open to doing a favor for you. These are the four minimum steps you should take before asking for a favor from a new connection.


Now got to the comment I shared with my connections. BUILD A RELATIONSHIP FIRST. Leave your comment there, good, bad, or ugly.

Photo: Flickr, Jon Fravel

 

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30,000 LinkedIn connections. Really?!

30,000

I’ve read a number of posts from people who are complaining that some of their 30,000 connections are being reduced to followers. They apologize to their “valued” connections for the injustice LinkedIn has committed.

(LinkedIn has made some bonehead moves in the past, such as stripping us of unlimited searches, but this is not one of them.)

I know I’m going to anger a lot of my connections, but the way I see it, people with 30,000 connections are collectors who don’t understand the purpose of networking. They’re collecting connections like Imelda Marco collected shoes, but by tenfold.

But these connections represent opportunity, you argue. Bullsh#t, I say. Besides the thousands of fake profiles you have accumulated, 90% of your connections will never follow up in a meaningful way.

Some of you say you communicate with them on a daily basis. This is true but only because you share updates, which potentially all 30,000 connections can see. Not likely.

Be honest with yourself, how many of the 30,000 connections have you even communicated with after receiving their default invites? Eight percent if you’re lucky. Or 2,400 if you’re counting. You L.I.O.N.S out there, I’m speaking to you.

Lion

My number of connections is more than 2,500, and I have to honestly say I don’t recognize many of them. Which makes me wonder if I have done the right thing by connecting with them. Probably not.

According to Robin Dunbar, a anthropologist and physiologist, we can truly know know 150 people; I’m a living testament of this assertion. (Read The New Yorker article, The Limit of Friendship.)

So when people tell me they know all of their first degree connections, even if it’s 2,400, again I say bullsh#t. This is not to say you need to confine your network to people you can name; at least they should be meaningful.

Collecting LinkedIn connections is like going to a networking event and collecting 100 personal business cards; just grabbing them out of people’s hands. Will you follow up with 100 people? You might as well find the nearest waste basket immediately after the event and dump those cards into it.

If you are saying, “LinkedIn’s purge is arbitrary. Like, they’re taking away valuable connections and turning them into followers instead.” My response to that is if you miss them (as in you know them) then simply reconnect…after you’ve eliminated some of the chaff among your 30,000 connections.

Throw out your connection trash. None of my connections are trash, you argue. Have you, as a true networker, hand-selected these connections? I didn’t think so.

That teenager from Huston, TX, who you blindly accepted, won’t be of any assistance. But all’s good, right.? She got you closer to 30,000 connections.

Once, my son told me he had 500 Facebook friends. I asked him if he knew them. Sure, he told me. Bullsh#t, I told him.

It is time that you open networkers focus on the purpose of networking (this is actually what we’re supposed to be doing) which is to connect with people of like interests who can be of mutual assistance.

Photo: Flickr, d00133519x

 

I have become lazy on LinkedIn

No, I haven’t been slacking off at work or not taking out the trash or neglecting my children. I’ve simply been replying to LinkedIn invitations with a simple Accept, and that’s it. No thank you note; not even something as basic as, “thanks for connecting with me.” Trust me, I feel awful about this.

In my defense, I’ve joined OpenNetworker.com, a service that provides its members with a list of thousands of LinkedIn users. I did this on a recommendation from one of my connections who knows I’ve been yearning to grow my network on LinkedI, so I figured I’d follow her advice and see where it leads me.

OpenNetworker.com has come through on its promise to grow my network; I get at least 100 invites a week. At this writing there are 27 people waiting to be accepted, including someone who is a gun-loving  pit-bull breeder. I’m thrilled to get this volume of invites; but as I mentioned above, I’ve become a lazy slob.

I used to thank everyone who invited me to their network with a quick little note like, “Ed, thanks for inviting me to be in your network. I hope we can collaborate on projects in the future. Bob.” But now I do nothing after I hit Accept.

The reason why I don’t write a thank you note (thanks to OpenNetworker.com) to the slew of invites I receive is because they arrive with the impersonal LinkedIn default message, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. Not to sound dramatic, but It’s like returning from a hard day’s work and not getting a kiss from my wife or being ignored by my kids. Where’s the motivation to write a thank you note, I ask you?

What did I expect when I joined OpenNetworker.com—that everyone would take the time to write a personalized invitation to me? No, that would be too much to expect. I know people who use OpenNetworker.com are limited by the technology. They copy and paste a ton of e-mail addresses, separated with commas, in the Add Connections field and blast them off.

So you can imagine the crossroads I’m at. On the one hand I want to grow my network to gain more exposure, but I also want to feel the love that one does when he receives a special note inviting him to join a network. I guess I can’t have it both ways.

I think what we have here is an agreement of mutual laziness. I guess I can live with that. But for those of you who want to invite me to your network and take the time to write a special invitation to little ole me, you darn tootin’ can expect a personalized thank you in return.

LinkedIn is a professional networking site; don’t over-share

When you hear LinkedIn being called a “social media site,” do you hear fingernails scratching the blackboard? If you do, I’m glad. This means you’re onboard with those who see LinkedIn as a professional networking site. Facebook and Twitter are social media sites and mighty fine ones at that.

What makes LinkedIn a professional networking site are rules of etiquette that are followed by most of its members, one of which is not disclosing too much information or the wrong type of information.

I was delighted to see an article, Are You Over-Sharing on LinkedIn? written by one of my LinkedIn contacts, Laura Smith-Proulx,  that backs up this assertion. Laura does a great job of covering three areas of which you should be cognizant:

  1. Posting negative comments about your job search in a LinkedIn group.
  2. Issuing Status Updates that are unrelated to your professional image.
  3. Misusing LinkedIn Answers – revealing confidential data or using the site for non-professional queries.

Please read Laura’s article if you’re wondering about how to effectively network on LinkedIn for business and the job search without over-sharing.