LinkedIn Introductions are an integral part of the social networking platform. After all, LinkedIn has given us the ability to search for someone and see how we are connected to them, and it is with this information that we can request an Introduction from our connection just as we request a referral from a friend in real life. Unfortunately, very few people actually ask for an Introduction on LinkedIn in the same manner that they ask for a introduction in a real-life. And this bothers me. Thus, I blog.
Because I am a LinkedIn LION, I receive more than my fair share of Introduction requests. And I don’t mind, because Introductions are an integral part of helping connect people. But, in real life, if you were going to ask someone for an Introduction to that special person, wouldn’t you go into some background as to how that person can help you and vice-versa? And wouldn’t you ask for it in a nice manner with a “thank you!” to that friend who is going out of his or her way to make the introduction? Of course you would. I call this “The Personal Touch”, and you will hear a lot more about this term in my LinkedIn book “Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn.”
So why is it that so many people, when requesting an Introduction on LinkedIn, lack this “Personal Touch?” Is it because LinkedIn has made it too easy to do with their platform? Why in social media would people act any differently than in real life?
For instance, what would you do if you receive an Introduction request from contact A to your contact B that just says, “Can you please introduce me to (B)? Thanks!” How do you go about describing contact A who is asking for the recommendation? And how do you explain to contact B why contact A wants to be introduced to them? And what does this say about you when forwarding this meaningless message to contact B?
I hope the above example illustrates the problem here. And, with this in mind, I would like to suggest how you should actually be asking for an Introduction if you want to 1) provide some value to your contact making the introduction, 2) make it easier for your connection to make the Introduction, and 3) increase your potential success rate in actually receiving the introduction:
- When requesting an Introduction, always include a short paragraph of how you would like to be introduced. In other words, write out your branding message so that the person you forward the Introduction request to has some way of describing you. In fact, in this way, you can ensure that your brand is not diluted and is portrayed exactly the way you want it to be. Without this paragraph, how will the person forwarding the Introduction be describing you? You don’t know, do you? This is especially important if you are requesting an Introduction from a 3rd degree connection, where the message gets even more diluted.
- Why are you requesting the Introduction? Did you even bother to mention this in your Introduction request? Please do so! And the more details of why you would like to be introduced AND the potential value for the other person in being introduced to you that you provide will ensure a high success rate. It also allows the person making the introduction on your behalf to look like they are adding value in helping build-up a mutually valuable relationship. Remember, the person making the Introduction is also putting their reputation on the line. Make sure it is a win-win-win request!
- Everyone is busy, so request in a nice way. In real person you would, right? Well, social media should be no different. A lot of us networkers try to be Pay It Forward, so we are more than happy to be helpful to those requesting the Introduction. But if you are requesting one, shouldn’t you be thankful and asking that person making the introduction that if there is anything you can do to help them out networking-wise to let them know? Wouldn’t this be a common sense thing to say at the end of your Introduction request? Then why isn’t anyone adding this sort of language to their Introduction request?
Social media has the potential to connect us, but it also has the potential to make us more impersonal through its platform. Don’t fall into the trap. Always add “The Personal Touch” in your communications on LinkedIn or any other social media platform. Never forget that we are not merely a “connection” but a real person. You will find that you will make a lot more meaningful relationships, and your network will work for you in a more successful way. Otherwise, do you really think that that blank Introduction request will be a successful one?