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On Creating And Managing Your Linkedin Connection Policy
[07.16.09]
12 great comments!

On Creating And Managing Your Linkedin Connection Policy

linkedin, using social media, career networking, references, recommendationsSo I’ve had this policy for connecting with people on Linkedin.  One that prevented connection with a stranger without a call to introduce each other and find out how the connection will benefit us both.

This policy has been a blessing and a curse.
A blessing as I have met a bunch of great people and, as a result, have maintained a very personal network.  A curse in that it has been a ton of work to manage.
I share this with you because I know some of you have adopted it.  But I need to tell you now that I am making an adjustment.
So why the change?
1.  The filter is too aggressive
Only about 2 out of 10 people take me up on my request to talk.  So that means 8 out of 10 people who thought they’d benefit from connecting with me will not get access to my network.  Now, for a while that seemed correct.  I’ve worked hard to create a network of people I know and can access freely.  I earned their respect.  But even more important, I think, is that I am missing out on connecting with people who may be great but just didn’t have the time to call me or got busy.  Some, I imagine, may have taken offense to being “filtered”.
2.  Time is short and focus is key
Let’s face it, we’re all busy.  I have only become more harried as I look to grow Tim’s Strategy and meet with as many job seekers as I can to share (and get) ideas.  Also, having just read “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss, I started to find myself upside down in admin work instead what I love to do. That is, write and share ideas.  In the book, Ferriss challenges readers whether their business model is “scalable”.  In other words, as your concept grows will you be able to maintain your policies and practices.  For me, the answer is no.
3.  I have new influential friends
They have taught me some new tricks (yes, we all keep learning) and helped me see the light.  These friends are younger and more representative of the social media population.  Who are likely among those who look at my policy requiring a phone call with a smirk.  In fact, a while back, one person requesting a connection said he didn’t even use a phone anymore.  It was either Skype or e-mail.  So we had a short but great e-mail conversation.
I know many of you are like me.  You want a network you can count on down the road.  People that you know something about and who will respond when you wish to reach them.  To get their expertise or tap a connection in their network.
So, here are the adjustments effective today for friends I haven’t met yet:
A.  If you send me a personal note with your request and tell me why you think a connection would be beneficial, I will accept that connection.
B.  If you send me a generic note, I will probably reply with a few quick questions.  When you answer them (i.e. tell me about yourself) I will accept that connection.
C.  If you send me a generic request and do not respond with a personal reply, I will likely ignore that request.  Is it that hard to write a few quick notes to someone?  Really.
Fair or sell out?  Did I not go far enough in opening the barn doors?  I’d love to get your comments below!
So, I’ve decided to adjust my policy to include more people.  Less of a filter.
But watch out.  I’ll still try to get to know you!


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: | | |
Categories: Using Social Media
  • Hey Tim,
    Excellent post. I know that the above decision must have been a hard one for you, but at some point, just because of the numbers of people in social media and what you may be missing out on by not connecting, it makes sense to “loosen up” a little bit. They key is in connecting with people that you have a strong feeling that they will have a similar mindset when it comes to dig your well before you are thirsty pay-it-forward networking. That is what Windmill Networking is all about!
    Looking forward to hearing how your new policy works out! Please keep us posted!
    By the way, please revise my URL for the Blogroll to http://windmillnetworking.com/blog. Thanks!

  • Hey Tim,
    Excellent post. I know that the above decision must have been a hard one for you, but at some point, just because of the numbers of people in social media and what you may be missing out on by not connecting, it makes sense to “loosen up” a little bit. They key is in connecting with people that you have a strong feeling that they will have a similar mindset when it comes to dig your well before you are thirsty pay-it-forward networking. That is what Windmill Networking is all about!
    Looking forward to hearing how your new policy works out! Please keep us posted!
    By the way, please revise my URL for the Blogroll to http://windmillnetworking.com/blog. Thanks!

  • Thanks Neal. Yes, I’ll also admit that taking a strong position upfront makes for a tougher decision down the road (stubborn pride?). My personal lesson to share here is to be flexible and open to the methods of others. Then you can choose at will.
    Promise to keep everyone posted, of course!
    I changed your link as requested . . .

  • Thanks Neal. Yes, I’ll also admit that taking a strong position upfront makes for a tougher decision down the road (stubborn pride?). My personal lesson to share here is to be flexible and open to the methods of others. Then you can choose at will.
    Promise to keep everyone posted, of course!
    I changed your link as requested . . .

  • Steven Burda

    Wow – great stuff here Tim! True, very true too!
    – Steven Burda

  • Steven Burda

    Wow – great stuff here Tim! True, very true too!
    – Steven Burda

  • Sarah DiGioia

    Tim, I think your policy is only fair. The onus should be on the connection requester to pose how the contact is mutually beneficial. It seems your method gives the requester several opportunities to communicate this and even takes into consideration various communication comfort levels.
    And I’ve also found to be true your observation of the younger professionals replying less on the phone to connect. From my experience connections are first made via social media and then the personal component comes through meeting at a mutually interesting event (a MeetUp, a BarCamp, a Con, etc.) To elaborate a bit, the social media generation has realized that real relationships can’t be built on anonymity and have created scores of cool places to converge and talk shop beyond the “professional association” model.

  • Sarah DiGioia

    Tim, I think your policy is only fair. The onus should be on the connection requester to pose how the contact is mutually beneficial. It seems your method gives the requester several opportunities to communicate this and even takes into consideration various communication comfort levels.
    And I’ve also found to be true your observation of the younger professionals replying less on the phone to connect. From my experience connections are first made via social media and then the personal component comes through meeting at a mutually interesting event (a MeetUp, a BarCamp, a Con, etc.) To elaborate a bit, the social media generation has realized that real relationships can’t be built on anonymity and have created scores of cool places to converge and talk shop beyond the “professional association” model.

  • Thanks Sarah – I appreciate for your additions re: the social media crowd. That makes a lot of sense! This was not an easy adjustment for me, but I had to listen to a more practical voice. . .

  • Thanks Sarah – I appreciate for your additions re: the social media crowd. That makes a lot of sense! This was not an easy adjustment for me, but I had to listen to a more practical voice. . .

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