What is it with some people on LinkedIn lately?
I don’t know if it’s just me but we should call the etiquette police because from what I can tell, the art of how to build relationships is dying. These thoughtless connection requests are getting rather annoying! I know a lot of this is about dealing with noise as the social web matures. However, I feel it’s my duty as an irregular digital culture commentator, obsessed with human behaviour, to share some tips.
Other the past year, I’ve been consciously keeping notes and doing some testing when I’ve received a connection request from someone I don’t know.
I should preface this with:
- I tend to only add people I’ve met, worked with or know on LinkedIn
- We all use platforms differently so this is my perspective and;
- I’m genuinely interested in everyone’s story, background and getting to know them more. I love people and have been told I have a weird knack for remembering everyone I meet. I hate the word ‘networking’, always have, at the end of the day I’m just really curious. Therefore, this definitely isn’t about saying ‘Don’t connect’.
So, when I receive a blanket auto-request, I’ve been responding with “Hey! Have we met?” knowing it’s unlikely we have. I find this encourages the person to do a take two and add some context via a message. The replies are where it gets interesting. I’ve had everything from the generic, “No, we haven’t. I want to build my network and you seemed like a good connection.”, to “Yes, we have – well, I once stood in the same room as you at a conference.” and “No we haven’t but I’m thinking about moving to San Francisco and just want introductions.”. I know it’s easy to forget you’re talking to an actual person when you’re clicking a few buttons, but believe it or not, I’m a human being – not a connections machine at your disposal! Don’t get me started on bad recruiters eyeing off a walking rolodex.
In the past few years, I can recall only one instance where a guy said at the end of a short and sweet intro email: “Let me know if there is any way I can help out”.
It’s not Dale Carnegie-esque pop rocket science – if you want people to be interested in you, be interested in them. If you want people to respect you, respect them. If you want people to help you, help them.
Next time you want to reach out to someone, click on their profile to connect through there as it allows you to tailor a personal message. The receiver will notice you put in effort and time to think about it. The LinkedIn suggested people you may know option and iPad/iPhone apps send off the auto request text so beware.
Now, for a couple of other suggestions:
- Don’t put your business identity as your profile pic – you aren’t your logo
- Don’t use vague terms to describe yourself aka ‘change-maker, thinker, innovator, dreamer’ unless you’re Bono, Hawking, Jobs, etc. – it’s meaningless fluff (which I’ve been guilty of)
- Don’t autopost updates meant for other social channels (i.e. Twitter) using third-party apps – say more, less
- And above all, don’t put all caps in your professional headline. Another thing that screams spam!
Add a comment if there’s something I’ve missed. :)