I saw this poll question on LinkedIn last week and it’s something that crops up a lot in my social training sessions.
For some reason, it’s something that makes a lot of people nervous. It make you feel like a stalker. Makes you feel rude. If you don’t know someone, why would you want to connect with them?
Well, there’s actually the point. Why *would* you want to connect with them if you don’t know them? Maybe there’s a great reason! There usually is.
Maybe you’re about to meet them. Maybe they’re a leader in your respective part of the business/world/sector/industry. Maybe it’s someone you want to get to know better in the future. Maybe you seem as a future boss!!
Whatever your reason, it’s totally fine to connect with someone you don’t know.
But, what you must do, is use the “Add a note” or “Personalize* invite” – especially for someone who isn’t a colleague where you work. Explain why you’re connecting with them. Make it personal. Make it a reason for them to press “Accept” rather than “Ignore” when they get the request. [Sub question answer: Yes, it’s also fine to ignore people you don’t want to connect with”]
“I just listened to the podcast you did, and it really resonated with what Im doing here at [Employer/brand]. Hope you don’t mind me connecting.”
“I’m looking to grow my LinkedIn network with fellow [insert business area/profession] experts.”
“Im looking forward to meeting you virtually at the online X/Y/Z event next week – hope you don’t mind me connecting ahead of that.”
Connecting ahead of meeting is also a great way of knowing what that person looks like – knowing the face of the person you’re meeting totally changes that crucial first moment
Some people even have rules they only connect with people who make that effort. Sadly, on some platforms – mainly mobile – the ‘add a note’ option isn’t provided, so do give some thought as to how you connect with people and from what device.
One other option you can do, if you don’t feel you want to connect with them, is to follow them instead. I know I have followers but who aren’t connections. That means you’ll still see their content on your own feed. You can then start to build a more subtle relationship (by commenting, liking or sharing) which may lead to a connection later on. When you’re on someone’s profile, you will more-often-than-not find the “Follow” option under the ‘more’ next to “Connect” and “Message.”
So go one – connect with someone new today.
That’s all for today. Be a brighter brick in your world!
*Darned American platforms with their random z’s…