The core of LinkedIn revolves around connecting to other business professionals, which is primarily networking. Networking exclusively on LinkedIn, though, ignores the human element of face to face interaction. Understanding, once again that LinkedIn is a tool, how do you use it to enhance your other networking?
I do a lot of networking in my local chamber. When I first joined the chamber in the spring of 1996 I had not yet joined LinkedIn. At meetings I would try to meet as many people as possible, but in a room full of 50 people and only 30 minutes of open networking it was hard to meet everyone.
At each meeting they would photocopy all of the business cards and each attendee received a copy. From that I could call those I had not met to try to set up a meeting. Other than a name on a card, though, there was no connection. I could also try again at the next meeting if they returned.
LinkedIn changed that. I found that with LinkedIn, I could connect to those that I hadn’t had a chance to meet. Then I could review their LinkedIn profiles to determine who were the most beneficial to meet. I also found that if they were at the next chamber meeting, that the LinkedIn connection provided a great way to break the ice.
In the end it’s a two way street. LinkedIn provides a level of connectivity until I can strengthen the networking relationship through a face to face meeting. And the chamber meeting provides a fresh batch of potential LinkedIn connections.
Some of my best networking relationships have developed from simply being at the same networking event, connecting on LinkedIn, and then finally taking it offline and meeting in person.
So here’s what you should be doing. After every networking event, send a LinkedIn connection invite to those you did not get a chance to meet. (Here’s where you want to customize that LinkedIn invitation. ) Send the following invitation: Continue reading Enhance Your Networking with LinkedIn (part 3 of 10)