For some reason, when we network online, we really forget how to communicate with the person on the other end of the computer. In fact we forget that there even is a real person on the other end of the computer. Basic real life etiquette flies out of the window as we try and do everything at a trillion miles an hour to get connected, friended, followed and now pinned to as many people as possible.
But slow down, connection collector, relax, and be more meaningful in your approach, and avoid some of the things that I see all too often that really bug me. If you want to develop a business relationship with your connection, don’t get off on the wrong foot.
Here are my top 10 things to avoid doing:
- Please don’t send a connection request to me saying that you are my friend when I have absolutely no idea who you are. You know it, and so do I so please have some respect there. Choose the “other” option, it works just as well and is honest.
- You may think it’s cool to have a first name of “Big John” but really it’s not very professional in the LinkedIn business arena. Save that part for your Facebook page.
- It’s lovely to see you dressed as a caterpillar but your LinkedIn profile photo needs to be the real you, so that when we meet up, I can actually recognize you in the coffee shop.
- When you send me a connection request, I will always take a peek at your own profile before I accept to see a bit more about you. I am interested. If we had met at a networking event offline, we would have said hello, and chatted a while, so why not here as well? Let’s talk and see if we have anything in common or of interest to share.
- I will read your summary about what you do if it is from you, and not someone else. I want to hear your tone, get a feel for you, not someone else talking about you.
- Your summary is probably the biggest thing I pay attention to when I am viewing your profile so please don’t shout at me in capital letters to get my attention. I can read it just fine in lower case.
- Your recommendations that you have are great, but each one is from a colleague so it loses its importance. I want to see the real you from satisfied clients and maybe the boss.
- Remember to un-check the little box when you send out a bulk message to your connections so that I don’t see everyone else’s email address and they don’t see mine. It acts as BCC (blind carbon copy)
- Your tweets should really stay on twitter and not clogging up my business focused news feed from my other connections, it really is too much info for me to deal with. Sure, if it’s relevant to the business environment, send it along with the hash tag #in then I will be sure to see it.
- And finally, please don’t assume that since we are connected on LinkedIn that I want to be added to your newsletter database too, because your news is not necessarily relevant to me if you build ships and I sell flowers.
If you put yourself back into a real life networking event where you meet a new person for the first time, you wouldn’t do any of the things above, so please don’t do it to me on LinkedIn. Let’s find out more about each other, chat a little, see who we know in common, and show a little respect to each other. That is the basis for a new business relationship.