I am hopeless at real-life networking. I stand around, trying not to look awkward. Thank goodness for online networking. So much easier to send a nice message than actually walking up to the person. If you read on you will learn my 7 LinkedIn Networking Tips that actually takes the ‘mweh’ and ‘ugh’ out of networking in real life!
IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT
Honestly. These LinkedIn Networking tips can be implemented by shy people, introverts and any other “gimme-an-I-hate-networking-label” kinda person. Trust me!
Find a list of people attending the event you’re about to attend.
Let people you’re already connected to know you are going.
Invite the others with a personal message.
Look up the organisers and/or speakers.
Connect with organisers and/or speakers.
Decide who you’d REALLY like to meet.
Do some serious, professional stalking.
Follow up after the event.
DARN THAT’S 8 LINKEDIN NETWORKING TIPS
1. Send a nice message (always be nice) to the attendees you’re already connected to. Something along the lines of you both going and how lovely it would be to catch up. Big change some of them will come up to you at the event to say hello. BAM you don’t need to get over your fear of walking up to people.
2. Write a personalised (personalized if you are in the US) invitation to attendees you’re not connected to. Let them know you noticed you are both going. Ask what made them decide to attend, or what they are most looking forward to. Questions are conversation starters right. If you have a conversation, people might remember you.
3. Study the event website, invite, program, brochure or what have you. Once you spot the organisers and/or speakers, look them up on LinkedIn. Find out what expertise brings them to this event AND look for a common interest you have, bonus points if it is unrelated to the event you are about to attend.
4. Connect to organisers and/or speakers. If the event you are attending is a little bigger, a conference even, this might sound daunting. Who am I to reach out to them? Well, YOU are that person that actually shows an interest! Write your invite combining the two things I made you figure out in the previous point.
START WITH WHY (AS SINEK ALWAYS TELLS US)
5. When you decide who you’d really like to meet, keep a few things in mind. Why do you want to meet them? Because you are a fan? You are not the only one, so make an impression first! Look for people who share your target audience from a different angle. Look for influencers. Above all, look for people that just seem to damn nice, funny, different NOT to meet!
6. Here comes the fun bit. Serious, professional stalking! YAY. Visit the profile of one of the people on your short list. Check for ‘recent activity’ click the see more, or show all, or whatever that thing is called. Now before you start scrolling like crazy, look up a little and click “posts”. Now start engaging! This is what THEY POSTED. What they feel strongly about. Comment in a manner that compliments and adds value. Keep this up once a week if there is enough time, otherwise daily. IF THEY RESPOND, if there is some two-way-interaction you can message them to say you’d love to catch up IRL at the event.
7. Follow up the day after the event. Send a nice thank you message to the people you did talk to. Ideally, send them a link to some interesting article related to what you chatted about. Send a message to all the people you DID NOT talk to! Let them know how much you enjoyed the event, that it was impossible to meet every attendee in person. Finish with a question! What did they enjoy most? Or something else low key like that.
NOW YOU KNOW ALL MY SECRETS
I developed part of this strategy by accident. I did the connecting beforehand thing, just to grow my network with like-minded professionals. Then THREE people came up to me to thank me for the nice message and talk to me. WOO HOOT … no more looking awkward and standing by myself at events for me!
>>>Tell me: what is the next event you’re attending and which of these LinkedIn Networking Tips will you implement? Additional tips are welcome in the comments as well!<<<
LinkedIn is a network: networking is a verb, a doing word. This means DOING MORE than simply inviting and accepting. Even a stamp collector looks after and nurtures their stamps: Why pay less attention to human beings? The other day I posted a question on LinkedIn:
WHEN DO YOU ACCEPT A LINKEDIN INVITE?
On the fly through the app?
On desktop when you have time to engage with your new connection?
This post started some interesting conversations (which you can read here). As the second option implies, there was a bit more to my question than just app or desktop.
Most people find it still easier to engage on desktop, as they are used to typing on a full-size keyboard. That won’t last long though. Us who have trouble typing on mobile (or wanting to type proper sentences) are a dying breed.
BUILDING A MEANINGFUL NETWORK
I am an advocate of large networks. The power of the 2nd degree is just unreal. Does that mean I advocate quantity over quality? Nope. They are not mutually exclusive. I recommend connecting to every person you spoke more than three words to. Including people from high school, sports, church, family, literally every person you’ve met. When you receive an invite from a stranger, ask yourself: “Is there a good reason not to accept?” Truly the power lies in the 2nd degree. Look at the little update above. No image, no URL, just a plain question. With just 4 likes and 13 comments, it gained more than 10K views.
Connecting is more than clicking accept. Connecting to people means talking to people. I start a conversation with every new connection. I love to know a bit more about them. What do they do, what are they looking for on LinkedIn? That way I can offer introductions between connections. If you’d like to see an example of how I do this… just send me a (personalised) invitation to connect. Already connected? If this was before my thoughtful days… send me a private message on LinkedIn and I will reply as if we’ve just connected.
DO’S AND DON’TS
It is great form to thank people for connecting. It is poor form to try and sell them something in the same message. I find it is ok to invite people to join/follow you on other social media. Show an interest in people. Be friendly, a tip is great, a push is horrible. Look for occasions to build on the relationship. Send a birthday message, comment on their update when it is relevant to you. Tag them if you read something that is of interest to them. It’s those little things that go a long way.
>>> Tell me, how do you build a relationship with your LinkedIn network? <<<
How do you feel about this “holiday season”? Love to go to all the parties? Or crawl under a rock till everyone has stopped saying: “Happy New Year”? Like it or not, this is a great time for some serious networking. Offline, but online as well! Read on to find networking and LinkedIn tips.
Networking in 3 simple steps.
Go out with a purpose
Hit the bottle!
Let’s have a look at each of the steps. How do you use them to turn the next social into a networking event? How to incorporate these steps in your LinkedIn use?
Go out with a purpose
Is it a work function where you know most people? Chances are you’ll have a good time and party-hardy. Think about it though… If you want to network, who do you want to talk to? Is there a colleague who has a great relationship with someone you’d like to be introduced to in the New Year? Or even better, have you got connections that will really benefit a certain colleague? Who will be there that you can genuinely compliment on an achievement in the past year?
Work out who you want to talk to and why. Also, be prepared for questions about yourself. What is most important to you for people to know? How can you tell it so they can remember and repeat it?
Introduce the people you spoke with at the party, through LinkedIn with useful contact afterwards.
Write a brief LinkedIn recommendation to the person you paid a compliment to at the party. Make sure to start with a bold statement about what the recipient did for you. Only the first line or so is visible, make it count.
Once you have figured out what people really need to know and remember about you, update your LinkedIn Headline accordingly.
Hit the bottle!
Make yourself useful at a party. Pour people a drink, go round with some of the nibblies. This greatly increases your visibility. It shows people your helpful and caring side. It is easy to get near the person you’d otherwise be shy to walk up to. Don’t forget to smile while you offer people a drink or a snack and stay reasonably sober yourself so you don’t say silly stuff. It doesn’t take long for you to find out who is hiding in which corner and where the conversations are you’d like to join in.
Look up the people you met and see if they posted anything on LinkedIn (check recent activity on their profile). Add a like and an interesting comment. Like pouring drinks, this helps your visibility and likeability.
Did you make eye contact with the people at the party? How about making eye contact with the visitors of your LinkedIn Profile. Make sure you have a picture with a nice smile.
It’s a party so don’t be shy to use as much LSD as you can handle! Listen Summarise Dig deeper (really show an interest). People love a person that really listens to them and shows this by asking more questions. People are sooner to remember the person that cared and listened than the person that talked endlessly.
Connect with them the following day, mention something specific from your conversation in the invite.
When you invite is accepted, send a thank you message. In this message add some useful information. A link to an interesting article following your conversation, an offer to put them in touch with so and so…
Check their recent activity on LinkedIn and contribute positively with a comment that both adds value to the reader and compliments your new connection.
There! Not only have the holiday parties become useful networking events, you’ve undertaken some positive, honest and meaningful networking activity through LinkedIn. I bet you it did wonders for your visibility as well!
>>>What LinkedIn follow up action did you take after one a recent party you attended?<<<
Just start a discussion in a LinkedIn group and Bob’s your uncle. Right? Wrong! You’d think people will respond to interesting discussions, but most of the time they don’t.
What makes that YOU respond to a discussion? Or and update? Or just to click the ‘like’ button? I am guessing you are more likely to respond when a question is asked or a thought provoking statement is made. Or maybe … maybe there were some people that already commented and this got your attention.
According to LinkedIn rules and regulations you are only allowed to connect to people you know. But when do you know someone? When you shake hands and exchange business cards? When you met at least 3 times for coffee? When you’ve known each other more than 3 months? Or when contact has only been online?
Each connection brings a LinkedIn Network
Right, your point being? LinkedIn is a network. To network is a verb. So if you’d like LinkedIn to be more than your online display window, you’ve got work to do. Say you have one connection, who has a network that is interesting to you. If this connections posts an update, you need to comment. This gives you exposure to their network. So make sure your comment adds value and shows expertise.
So who will you add to your LinkedIn Network?
Every single person you’ve met. EVER | ANYWHERE | Classmates, colleagues, suppliers, clients, family, friends, members of your sports-team … anyone you ever met and spoke to for more than 3 minutes.
People that have networks that are of interest to you. Never mind that annoying little … in primary school, his current network might be very interesting.
People who could use your knowledge and expertise ( they will most likely respond to your updates and thus increase your visibility), besides, it is nice to help people.
People who add interesting contributions to discussions in LinkedIn Groups.
But what to go for: quantity or quality?
That all depends on your goals with LinkedIn. Do you want to be found? Are you looking for a client, customer or employer? Aim for an extensive network. At least 300 people. Do you want people to recognise you as the expert in your industry? Go for 500+ Is LinkedIn just a showcase in place people look you up? In that case size is not important, although 23 connections does look a little sad. Is LinkedIn mainly a place to share knowledge and discuss industry developments? Only connect with people you really know (including people you’ve had extensive email or phone contact with).
>>> What choices do you make when extending your LinkedIn network?<<<
What is the first thing a sales rep does when he enters your office? He has a good look around. He is looking for a common interest. A personal common interest to break the ice and start the conversation. (more…)
You may argue its just curiosity, but no real need to know. But then again… Maybe you consider a person with 700 connections more real than a person with 7000 connections. Or maybe you want to strategically comment on updates from people with substantial networks, to broaden your reach and become top of mind more easily. So how do you find out? In just 3 quick and easy steps!
Here’s what to do:
Type the name of the person you’re curious about in the search field on top of the page.
Don’t click the name of the person you are looking for!
Do click the blue magnifying glass.
A list with search results appears.
Click the green 500+ link just below the person you are checking out.
This results in a list of all connections of that person; number of connections show top left.
PS And then Teddy Burriss wrote a great post how to get a rough indication of connections, that also works on 2nd and 3rd degree. I commented, he called me on Skype, recorded part of the Skype call and now I feature in his video! Check it out (start paying attention at 36 seconds).
>>> Tell me… other than curiosity, what will you use this for?<<<