LinkedIn – Three Rules for Connecting (and Other Advice) by Dave Nelson

Here’s a key concept to keep in mind when using LinkedIn: You should request and accept connections with only known and trusted business associates. When it comes to connections, LinkedIn is about quality, not quantity.

Your network will degrade to useless noise the more often you connect with people that you don’t know. In building connections, ask yourself these three questions:

1.    Do I know this person professionally?
2.    Do I respect this person professionally? (As Dr. Evil says in the Austin Powers movies, “Why must I be surrounded by idiots?”)
3.    Would I be happy to help this person with something if he or she asked me?

When the answer to all three questions is yes, the connection request is coming from someone you can assist in making professional connections to help sell products or services, find great partners, and recruit outstanding employees. Most important, that person can do the same for you.

If you’ve made the mistake of accepting every connection request coming your way, you’re what I call a promiscuous connector. I recommend some unlinking. To do so, when viewing a person’s profile, you’ll see a blue button labeled “Send a message”. On the right edge of that button, you’ll see a drop-down arrow. Clicking it will reveal the option to “Remove connection”. Don’t worry. The person will not be notified.

Please feel free to “Ignore” connection requests from people who don’t meet your criteria. With LinkedIn, a requester will not know that you’ve ignored his or her request. There’s no explicit notification.

Although choosing connections you trust creates a powerful network, you still might not want your connections to see all of your other connections, which happens by default with LinkedIn. If your connections represent your existing customers, your hot prospects, and your best employees and partners, others could use that information to your disadvantage. To prevent this, I recommend turning off connection visibility.

To do so, hover your cursor over your miniature photo in the upper-right screen area and select “Privacy & Settings”. You’ll land on a screen that includes a variety of privacy controls. Click on “Select who can see your connections” and set it to “Only you.” As LinkedIn will tell you, people will still be able to see shared connections, a highly valuable aspect of LinkedIn, but this represents just a small fraction (perhaps less than 1%) of your network relative to any given searcher.

With these steps completed, you’ll be ready to put LinkedIn to work for your business.

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