If I am looking out for a job and see that a guy in a senior position may be of help to me, how do I ‘pretend’ that I am of help for him and he should connect with me, when the reality is that in this case, atleast for the time-being the ‘help’ will be going only one way – him to me. For a direct person, who does not like beating around the bush and pretence, this networking bit becomes tricky. I know it is my weakness, but I am finding it hard to overcome it.
I go through the same doubts, especially when connecting to somebody who is many levels above me. But I look at it this way. We must take time to be polite.
The connectionSuppose you come home and, before you even put down your briefcase, your roommate or spouse starts telling you all the things on the repair list and all the things that went wrong today. To-the-point requests make people feel the same way.
People do things for friends that they will not do for strangers. Good manners includes telling a new acquaintance what you admire about them and explaining something you have in common. It establishes a bond. If you don’t have any reasons that you can turn into a compliment, then why are you connecting?
The requestRemember, it’s about your contact, not about you. You don’t want to put him in a position where he has to sound mean. So I ask, “If you think our interests fit, may I join your LinkedIn network?” or “…would you add me to your LinkedIn network?”
The offerYou try to connect with as many people as possible, right? If you, yourself, do not have confidence to offer help, you can still offer to connect them with somebody else who can help them. Sometimes I ask, “As I build my network, what skills or knowledge could I look for in people I might send your way?” (Of course, now, you have to start keeping track of the answers!)
Another way might be, “Does your organization face any challenges where I could watch for resources for you?”
PatienceI’m sure there are much better ways to say such things, and you should always adapt your words to the person you’re connecting with.
Remember, establish a relationship before asking for something. Better yet, don’t ask for anything until
- they offer to help, or
- you have been able to do something for them.
For further reading, see a great article with excellent comments:
- Ruhl, Susan. LinkedIn Networking 101: What Not To Do. Careerealism