|Carrying over from the previous post about building online relationships: People / professionals who you send requests to connect, might refuse the request only if they “thin-slice” and conclude that your request does not sound genuine.|
Various ways to make your request sound genuine:
The request to connect that you send out, is like a mini-resume. It’s like asking for a job – so we would be better off at least punctuating it properly. [No lowercase where it is “supposed” to be uppercase. Use capitalization. Correct punctuation]
Business networking is not about creating power positions, it is about creating win-win situations with everyone we meet and connect with. When we write a request to connect, we must be respectful and polite, not “in awe” and “desperate”. [No “Hi!” – instead say “Dear [firstname],” Only if the person has been your senior earlier, use a “Dear [lastname],” or “Dear Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. [lastname]” No addressing strangers with a “Dear Mr. [lastname] or [firstname]”]
Ensure that you actually “read” the person’s profile before you shoot off an e-mail requesting to connect. You don’t have to read all the previous experience and previous companies – the important sections to read are the places where a short description of what they do currently and what kind of things that have been involved in are mentioned. Search their profile for URLs for the blogs they write or their websites or some other links. Visit those web pages to learn some more about the person you want to link with. When you do this, you will inadvertently find out more about them and will mention something in your request that will make it personalized. And that one word or sentence that you mention is all it takes to make the other person realize that you are genuinely interested in making contact and are not just sending out mass e-mails to anyone and everyone.
Please do not put a 10-line signature at the end of your request to connect. Instead of that integrate your signature within the content of your e-mail. For example, if your signature contains three links to various blogs and websites that belong to you, mention all three in one paragraph in the e-mail. For example, my standard signature has the following elements
aside Design: http://www.aside.in
Innovation Blog: http://asideconsulting.blogspot.com
Business Networking Blog: http://biznetworking.blogspot.com
Join my network on openBC: http://www.openbc.com/go/invuid/Naina_Redhu (when I am writing to someone not already on openBC)
My profile on openBC: http://www.openbc.com/hp/Naina_Redhu/ (when I am writing to someone not already on openBC)
My profile on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewProfile=&key=350993 (when I am writing to someone not already on LinkedIn)
Instead of keeping this very unwieldy signature, I usually do the following depending on the nature of my request.
If the person is not on openBC or if I am not connected with them on openBC
If you are already on openBC, do visit my profile – http://www.openbc.com/hp/Naina_Redhu/ – and if you are not on openBC yet, you are welcome to join my network of more than a 1000 professionals using this link: http://www.openbc.com/go/invuid/Naina_Redhu
If the person is not on LinkedIn and I am sending them a request to connect on some other networking portal
Do visit my LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewProfile=&key=350993
So the elements of my signature integrated into the request text would usually read like this:
“I am a freelance designer, photographer, innovation consultant and an online business networking consultant. I recently started writing a blog on Business Networking – http://biznetworking.blogspot.com Since I am an avid networker, I am also a member on openBC and if you would like to join my network of more than 1000 professionals, kindly use this link: http://www.openbc.com/go/invuid/Naina_Redhu
If you have an interest in innovation and creativity, do visit my innovation blog too: http://asideconsulting.blogspot.com “
My signature would only contain my name and a link to my website – http://www.aside.in
The integrated signature information will follow after I have expressed an interest in connecting with the person and given my reasons for the same. Remember, the customer comes first and in the case of online business networking, the person we are requesting to connect with is our customer. Of course the ultimate aim of any kind of networking is to promote your business and to ultimately make money, but there are subtle and polite ways of doing it rather than the more “in-your-face” ones.
What others say
Honestly, as long as you are successful at networking, does it matter what others think about your writing style and the content of your requests to connect? Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion but if it works for you, it works for you! Be nice. What goes around comes around. There will always be comments (indirect and sometimes not so indirect) where someone will say that you are on the “dark side”, that you are an aggressive networker that you connect with people you don’t even know, that you hide your list of connections that you are not “with” the program.
Bottom line: you are the one with the large network, you know more about your connections since you took time to read more about them and visited their blogs and websites, so you are more capable of giving back to the network – the next time someone asks you for a lead, you’ll probably have some information where you will be able to connect two people. Eventually, you will be of more help to your network and that will allow you to reach more people with your services and your business. You will have access to the best means of marketing for yourself and you will facilitate the same for everyone else on your network.