Your ability to get warm introductions through LinkedIn is only as strong as your network of connections. In other words, LinkedIn is only as powerful as you build your network to be. The quality of your connections is more important than quantity – it’s not a popularity contest. According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, the neocortex of the brain is built to sustain a social network of around 150 people. Beyond 150, we just aren’t cognitively capable of keeping track and building personal relationships with people easily. Sure, build a large network, but make sure you focus on all the right connections and use a CRM to keep track of them all!
The 5 W’s of LinkedIn Connections
So who should you be connected to?
- Friends & family
- Centers of Influence
- Community leaders
- Former colleagues (if you are a career changer)
- Professional acquaintances
- The next generation
The rule of thumb for advisors, when accepting or making requests, is to only accept or invite people that you know well enough that you would be able to pick up the phone and ask that connection for an introduction to someone else in their network. TIP: If you need to clean up your network and disconnect from individuals go to My Network > Connections, Filter by Connections Only and Sort by Last Name. When you come across the individual you would like to remove mouse over their name and click on Remove. They are NOT notified that you have removed them.
Personalize the invitation request! You may think you’re the most memorable person in the world but people do forget… help jog their memory with the location where you met, connection points in common (people, hobbies, interests, passions, etc.) and your contact info:
”Hi Cindy, It was great meeting you at the charity event this past weekend. We have a lot of common interests – we should connect on LinkedIn. Best, Michael 555-xxx-xxxx”
Make connecting with people on LinkedIn an automatic activity, and do it within 3 business days of meeting them at:
- Networking events
- Dinner parties
- Cocktail receptions
- Sporting events
- Golf course
- Charity events
- Gym/health/fitness club
The stronger your network, the better the opportunities are to get in front of the right people. Remember, as discussed in a previous article, second degree connections are the sweet spot on LinkedIn.
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