Sunday, January 10, 2010

Connecting with people on LinkedIn

A few days ago I attended a LinkedIn seminar at the School of Visual Concepts in Downtown Seattle and learned a few things that I thought I'd pass onto you. It definitely was 2 hours of insightful uses delivered by Cindy Pain, an esteemed career coach at Lee Hecht Harrison.

LinkedIn, now having approximately 50 millions user profiles, is a great marketing tool for you and your business. LinkedIn has made it a business of connecting people - yes, connecting you with people in your professional background or industry. Now if you're shy, you might want to start slowly and allow for invitations, but jump right on in and invite people into your network. Don't worry about looking good or looking bad. A general rule of thumb I use is if people are on LinkedIn, they are more than likely open to an invitation to connecting. Most of all, be courteous, generous and respectful. It goes along way in building your relationship once you connect. If you're looking for new connections, as Cindy puts it, "link in or be left out. "

Ready to start a profile? Here's how.

Step 1. Establish your profile
LinkedIn allows you to quickly establish your profile. Click on their join today link at It couldn't be any easier. You will need a valid email address if you don't have one, you can get one at, or If you have a resume, you just copy and paste all of your information.

Step 2. Connect with people you know.
Once you've established your profile. You will want to start off by inviting everyone you know. These are your family, friends, clients, vendors, bosses, former bosses and organizational members to name just a few. As part of LinkedIn's free service, you are allowed 500 invitations. That's a lot when you think about it. When you make the invitation with people, offer them value in connecting with you. Is it your network? Is it your expertise? Can you recommend or introduce them to others? Tell them "what it is" in your invitation. Before long you will end up with lifelong friendships and business relationships. That is, if you nurture your network.

Step 3. Connect with people you don't know.
There are a few simple ways to connect with people you don't know on LinkedIn. These are people that are friends of your connections or friends of friends of your connections. Now to connect with people outside of your network with your connections, if it's appropriate and depending on your need, you can ask your friend if you can be introduced via Linkedin. Reciprocate with introducing other people, too.

People you don't know that are outside of your network could be the approximately 49.9 million other people on LinkedIn or those not already on LinkedIn. To get access to these people you're going to need to search for them either in person at a conference or at a meeting or through LinkedIn's search feature. Once you find the person(s) you want to connect to, make the invitation. They'll either say "yes" or "no". If it's yes, then start nurturing the relationship. If it's no, then don't beat yourself up. If you don't get a response, it's likely that person isn't using LinkedIn regularly or has a personal profile setting that prevents them from getting invitations.

This is just the beginning and I'll blog about networking in future posts. If you want or need more information, I've listed a few important links.

Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Additional information:

• LinkedIn New User information:
• 10 Ways to Use LinkedIn: or by Guy Kawasaki
• School of Visual Concepts:

LinkedIn is the respected trademark for the LinkedIn Corporation.

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