Linked in is a powerful tool, in the world of social networking sites. The reason for this could be the way it functions. It seems to be a fine blend of seriousness and fun. While other networking sites have the risk of unwanted elements forming social groups, the same is not true about Linked in.
It has some strict rules in place about networking. It encourages you to connect with people you know and of course friends of friends, which is a great way of building your network, but, online networking is also about building your network and your business by connecting with unknown business prospects.
How do you ensure that you build a great network without connecting with unwanted people? By this, I mean, the negative kind of people who spend time, breaking down other people’s network. I’d suggest that you join groups that are based on principles of open networking , yet they do not force you to connect with people you do not wish to connect to. Join groups like Top Linked and Open Networkers or Linked In Open Networkers. They have discussions that allow you to introduce yourself to the community, and yet you do not force yourself on people. In your invitation you write, “if you choose not to connect please archive, do not IDK” this ensures that you connect with people who want to connect with you.
One of the super-connected on Linked in, Steven Burda( he has some 34,000 connections in his network) has some great networking tips to offer. I’m using his tips on networking for the benefit of all with his permission.
He says, the purpose of networking is to establish mutually beneficial relationships. The reason is it will lead to better opportunities, increased revenue and of course stronger and better friendships. If this comes from the guru of networking one should just follow his tips blindly.
He further advises that one should dig one’s well before one is thirsty. One of the best ways to be prepared.He further advises you to communicate and participate within the Linked in community and give all your support and be ready to share your knowledge.
Here are some of his dos for networkers
Do connect with “real world” friends, colleagues.
Do keep your profile current/updated.
Meet new & exciting people = be an opportunist!
Be likable, friendly & approachable.
Have confidence; not arrogance.
Be an optimist; not a pessimist.
Follow-up, introduce others, facilitate discussions.
Brand yourself – get known, be heard, & recognized!
Personalize your requests & approaches!
Do have fun doing it!!
Here is a list of his don'ts for professional networkers
Don’t presume anything while meeting new people.
Don’t assume people have to help/owe you.
Don’t be a salesman, even if you are!
Don’t think “ME!” but “them!”
Don’t ramble or go-off track.
Don’t spam or bother your network!
Don’t abuse your network; Don’t ignore others!
Don’t give up!
Don’t do it just because you have to!
These could be some of the best tips for connecting, specially as they come from somebody who has figured in the list of super connected for the month of Sept’2009. One sad thing though is he is no longer allowed to form any more new connections. This means that only few people can benefit from his knowledge of networking and not everyone. Let’s hope Linked in removes the cap on his profile and allows him to connect with as many people as possible so that all benefit from his wisdom on networking.