I had had a delightful chat with Marva last week. We have been connected on LinkedIn for two years now. This was our very first chat. Late last year I decided to stop accepting invitations to connect on LinkedIn. I realized that there is more to connecting with people than accepting an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. So I issued my own invitation. I started contacting each member of my network. Some folks responded, some didn't. Others did more than respond, they inspired. Let me tell you about my conversation with Marva. She shared that she is 75 now, with just a hint of wonder in her voice. She is also retired and it's a good thing, because anyone with a full time job could not possibly keep up with all the items on Marva's plate. She is working to change the Alabama state constitution to allow for home rule where county issues are concerned. She is working on improving transportation in her city and serves as a director for a number of organizations in her community. It appears that Marva has learned the most effective way to eliminate boredom is to join a board!
Profiting From Your Professional NetworkLess than a month ago I started my No More Networking Challenge. My conversation with Marva demonstrates there is gold to be found in your LinkedIn network. All you have to do is dig. Start here:
- Review your professional network. Send a personal message to anyone who appears interesting. The less you know up front, the better. Make sure they know who you are, how you met and what you want. I simply told Marva we were connected on LinkedIn, but I didn't know why. Apparently it's true that the truth will set you free.
- Invite them to a short phone chat. Make it clear you're not going to try to sell them anything, you just want to learn more about them.
- Make a phone chat a requirement of accepting or offering a LinkedIn Invitation. The value of our network is in the quality, not quantity of connections.