If I can, I like to connect people. It makes me feel good, and some of my contacts simply must connect with one another – they are that cool or complementary!
I recently made a connection between two people, and I suggested to one of them to NOT invite the person to connect until they actually had a conversation, and started a relationship.
Too often I see people who will take an introduction, ask the person to connect on LinkedIn, and then… nothing.
Folks, connecting on LinkedIn IS NOT NETWORKING!
Focus on the relationship!
Can you help that person? Can they help you? Is there a reason to have a relationship? Can you nurture the relationship? Can you get and give value through the years because of a relationship?
Have a conversation. Then, in a month, or next quarter, have another conversation (or send an email). And do that regularly. Over time. Take the relationship from nowhere to somewhere.
The problem with starting out with a LinkedIn invitation is that too often, many times, I see this:
- Invitation is extended.
- Invitation is accepted.
- Relationship doesn’t go anywhere.
The LinkedIn connection is not a relationship, and it is not networking. It gets in the way.
So, first work on establishing the relationship, and the LinkedIn invitation/connection is something for later. Don’t let it take the place of the relationship.