Link In with Style and Class

Most of you already know that LinkedIn is the leading social media networking site for building business relationships, sharing information and searching for jobs. But do you also know how easily LinkedIn allows you to make a poor first impression on people you just met or haven’t even met yet?

So, make a positive first impression by being selective about who you invite to connect with you. A primary use of the site is to ask others in your network to refer or recommend you and to do the same for them. Pretty hard to do that when you don’t even know the person or where the only connection you have is that you’re both in the same discussion group.

When strangers ask to “link in” with me, I politely tell them that I prefer to connect with people after we’ve gotten better acquainted and began discussing how we might be able to help each other. Then, I observe how they respond and follow up and take it from there.

Continue that positive first impression when you invite someone to link in with you. Avoid the system-generated generic ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network‘. Comes off like junk mail sent to ‘Occupant’. Instead, take the extra minute to craft a two line personalized note indicating why you want to connect with them and what you hope to accomplish. When you accept invitations from others, reply with a short note thanking them and suggesting some ways you might help each other.

This all sounds like simple common sense and common courtesy, doesn’t it. Well, our workplace culture killed off common sense years ago and we allowed common courtesy to die off slowly from lack of use. So, if you want to link in with style and class, do it with uncommon sense and uncommon courtesy.

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