At least once a week I receive an invitation to connect with someone on Linked In who I have not met before. Being an open-networker, I promptly respond to the person asking for a face to face or virtual meeting so we can get to know each other, understand how to refer one another and determine if there are other ways we can help grow our businesses. As this other person initially contacted me, I would expect a courteous and prompt response to schedule a meeting. Unfortunately that is only true about twenty-five percent of the time. The rest of the time I do not hear from these individuals at all. To me this is a lack of business etiquette and a lost opportunity.
Why do we connect with others? Usually it is to gain referrals, find resources and receive new business. How can any of this be accomplished if all one is doing is clicking the “link” button. How do I know who to refer you to? How do I know which articles and resources to share with you? How could I feel confident enough to refer business?
In this fast-paced electronic age, it is so easy to click a button and believe we are serving our business then frantically moving on to the next task. I completely understand how busy we all are but we are not serving ourselves professionally or personally by speeding through our relationships. As a life coach, one of my mantras is telling people to slow down. When we speed up and focus on the future to-do’s we often miss the present moment. One of the things we miss when we are focused on the every growing heap of tasks is building the relationships we desire personally and professionally. These relationships mean more than any single task or accomplishment. Don’t let the ease of electronics fool you into thinking you are making real connections.
And watch in amazement when you do make real connections. The other day I received an invitation to connect. Not knowing the person, I asked for a meeting. I received an immediate response. The other person was floored. He had not been asked to meet before connecting and was excited to meet me. In preparing for our call, I checked out his profile. He is a publisher and a terrific resource for me as I complete my first book. After speaking to him, it is clear he is a wonderful man as well and I am now ever-vigilant in searching out opportunities and connections which may benefit him as well. Another positive story about real connections is about a woman who connected with me last January. We had not spoken since then but as she is moving into a new career she reached out again because I had some resources and information she could use. I was happy to help and she was also willing to speak to another connection of mine whom she may be able to provide guidance. It is all about giving and receiving. In order to do either, it is important to make real connections.
How many Linked In contacts do you have? When is the last time you reached out to them? Why not find someone you haven’t heard from in a while and drop them a line? Or why not reach out to someone you can help or who could potentially assist you and see if you can begin a true strong connection?