Really, you just say “Hello”
Meeting someone online is really not all that different than meeting someone in person. I’m not kidding. Yes, you can’t read their body language or hear the inflection of their voice when they type you a message, but so many people go out of their way to be “crafty” in how they reach out to someone they don’t know well. The old adage of saying, “Hello” works pretty darn well in these instances.
Remember when you had to ask someone out? Yeah – it’s kind of like that.
When I’ve spoken at different events, I can almost count on someone asking me, “Sheryl, can you show me how to make an introduction.” Many times, I will come right down to the person and put my hand out and say, “Hi, my name is Sheryl Brown, we are connected by a mutual friend and I was hoping I could learn more about you and your business.”
I’m not trying to be snarky with this person when I do this, but I am trying to emphasize the obvious. All those things our parents and caregivers said to us like, “Be yourself” and “Just say ‘hi'” and “Put your best foot forward” – they are all tried and true methods to get in front of folks. It’s just that simple.
It’s different when you meet people online, right?
No. It’s really not all that different.
LinkedIn makes it so easy for you to meet someone. Go to the page of someone you want to know better. If you have mutual connections, LinkedIn will tell you. In today’s six degrees of separation, we are all connected to someone. You could ask that person to make the introduction or you can select “Connect” and then write a personal message of how you know each other, how you’re connected, what are you wanting to learn about this person, etc.
The idea is to come off as a genuine business connection. Don’t do this to date. Don’t do this to stalk. Don’t be a weirdo! (I have to add this as some have used LinkedIn like a free version of eHarmony. Ugh!)
Do I have to write a personal message every time?
Yes. You have to write a personal request to each person you connect with – this provides context and brings a human quality to the online experience. If you’re the person who is sending out tons of informal “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” messages, please stop.
Come up with a standard message, if you need to, like:
You see, it’s not hard to say “hello” and the small amount of time you spend personalizing your message means the person will be more likely to connect and reach out to you.
Be a person of action – Challenge yourself this week to meet 10 new people through LinkedIn and send customized messages to each one of them.