Hardly a day passes without I receive an email that invites me to join someone on LinkedIn. I often hit delete straight away, but from time to time I reply and explain that I use LinkedIn to network with people I know from a work related situation and have met in real life or have had an useful dialogue with on-line. In by far most cases I never hear from the person again, so I guess contact hunters are too busy to actually engage in a dialogue.
However, a contact hunter called Kevin actually replied to my mail saying it was a virtual handshake and how a new relationship starts.
It sounds very nice but Kevin and others, if you want me to consider you for my network and I don’t know you, please keep this in mind:
- you are just one of the 5 billion people on the earth I could add to my network. Please give me a reason why I should add you and not the person in the invite on the next line – There are limits for how many people I meaningful can network with and I am already well over the 150 Dunbar recommend as the maximum.
- you are just a random person if I haven’t met you or had a meaningful dialogue with so it isn’t sufficient to use the default ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.’ Give me a real reason why I should start networking with you and why you are interested in networking with me.
- being concerned can be good but Kevin got it wrong by asking how I would every meet new people if I only networked with people I have met. Asking questions like this show you are a pushy contact hunter that has forgot there is an off-line world where you meet new people and that LinkedIn is an addition to the off-line world not a replacement.
Finally, talking about starting a relationship may be bit to personal when you haven’t spoken to a person before – I am networking not starting relationships. LinkedIn is not the new chat room for professionals – despite Kevin and many other treat it that way – however my experience is that many of the contact hunters never say anything after they have got access to your contact details and network – maybe it is more a virtual cold call than a handshake.
PS: Kevin, sorry for not helping boosting your network of random people, but at least you got mentioned in a post (BTW that isn’t enough of a reason to be a part of my network!)