A few days ago I proposed some ideas for the Aggressive LinkedIn in Networker. The Aggressive Networker was focussing a great deal on the quantity over the quality. He wanted to grow his LinkedIn network as quickly as possible. In this article I discuss a few ideas for the Conservative LinkedIn Networker. He is very different in his outlook and approach to networking. Let’s establish a few principles before we start discussing the ideas. The first principle is that quality trumps quantity any day. The Conservative Networker is very careful about who he networks with or connects with on LinkedIn. The second one is that there is no hurry to make new connections. Everything has to be reviewed. The ideas discussed in this article are so restrictive that if applied your network will probably grow very slowly but you will have a very good idea and knowledge of everyone you connect with.
Strict criteria for every new LinkedIn connection – Before you start adding or inviting connections on LinkedIn think carefully about the kind of person you want to connect with. Do they need to have a specific job title or will they come from a specific industry or field. How does this tie back to your overall goals in your career or business? Why do you want to connect with these particular people? Perhaps you should actually make a list of the kind of people you want to connect with. Who do you not want to connect with? This is also important. For example you might decide that you do not want to connect with Recruiters because you do not want to be getting approached for jobs at any stage. I would urge you to think strategically, take a long term view in your networking. Don’t just think about your current role or circumstances, try and project say 5 or 10 years from now Maybe one of the requirements you have on LinkedIn is that you will only connect with someone that you have previously interacted with or met before. You should try and adhere to do your own criteria as often as possible. They’re must be no exceptions once you have come up with your criteria for networking.
No contact details in your profile – As a Conservative LinkedIn Networker you make sure that when people connect with you they know quite a bit about you including your contact details. Do not put any of your contact details like your e-mail address or your telephone number in your profile. These will be visible to people you don’t know and you don’t want that at all. The only people who must have your contact details are those who need to. It’s on a need to know basis with Conservative Networking.
Not everyone can invite you – In your contact section in your account settings on LinkedIn the default setting and recommended setting is that anyone on LinkedIn can invite you. However you can change this so that only people with your e-mail address can invite you. The drawback to this of course is that you will not get invitations unless others know your e-mail address. I am quite sure this was severely restrict the number of LinkedIn invitations you get. However you have nothing to apologise for. You want to ensure that only the people you need to connect with other ones that get in touch with and that get in touch with you.
Review your contact settings – Make sure you have reviewed your contact settings on LinkedIn to make sure they are reflective of your intentions or plans on the site. In your contact settings you can indicate when you would like to become contacted. For instance if you are very happy in your present role or job make sure that you have not ticked career opportunities as one of the things you want to be contacted for. Some people even go further by indicating in their profile that they are not open to career opportunities. The other things that you can look at in terms of the contact settings are the following areas: consulting offers, new ventures, job inquiries, expertise requests, business deals, reference requests and getting back in touch. Try and narrow them down as much as possible. Do not put something unless you really mean it. So do not indicate that you are open to consulting offers when you are not
Review invitations one by one – When or if you get a lot of invitations you make sure that you review every invitation and look and study every profile of the potential connection. Where you are not satisfied that a potential connection might add value, you can reply or respond to the invitation without accepting it to get more information from the potential connection. You do not take any further action on the invitation until you have a response that is to your satisfaction or you delete. You will probably decline will invitations than the aggressive Networker and you might even mark some as spam.
Review your connections regularly – One of the things that you do as a Conservative Networker is constantly ensure that your network is adding value to you and you are adding value to the network . On a regular basis maybe once a month or two you will randomly go through the profiles of your connections and also depending on the correspondence you have with your connections you may decide to actually remove some of them from your network. This would be similar to a pruning exercise in gardening. The network does not have to be always expanding, sometimes it might have to shrink a bit or stagnate before it grows. You’re also on the lookout for excessive posts or SPAMMY posts in your newsfeeds. You may hide connections or removed altogether.
Your business card – Because you are such a conservative LinkedIn Networker you are also very careful about who you give your business card to because your business cards contain your e-mail address which people may use to invite you on LinkedIn. Since you’re very strict about who you will you connect with on LinkedIn you will probably be strict about will you give your business card to as well. For instance you would never give a lot of business cards to someone so that they can distribute their friends who you do not know personally. You make sure you know everyone to give your business card to or have at least met them.
Review this Networking Approach – You certainly need to review your LinkedIn Networking Strategy regularly to see if it’s working for you given the goals and objectives that you wish to achieve in your career or business. Your conservative networking strategy might actually be too restrictive and starving you of potentially good connections on LinkedIn. In this case you might need to relax a few things and be more moderate in your approach.
How do you find these ideas? Are they over the top?