Connecting on LinkedIn - Remember the purpose of connecting is to know people!

I just got back from spending spring break on a getaway with may wonderful wife.  She is one of the most important people in my life, and although we do date nights and make sure we take time to talk and stay connected, it is always nice to get away just the two of us and remind ourselves just how much we love one another and how much we mean to each other.  I do believe that you need to unplug and just be and this time away also helps me to take a step back and see patterns as they occur while I am offline.  One of the things I noticed was that I received a great deal of connection requests while I was away.  The pattern I saw was that many of these were just the canned “I want to connect” request from LinkedIn.

I normally don’t rant, but I am going to take some time and let folks know that if you want to connect with someone on LinkedIn I believe there is a correct way and an incorrect way.  Remember, you are trying to connect on LinkedIn primarily for business purposes to connect with people.  This makes sense as I have always found the best business interactions to occur when their is a relationship.  This doesn’t mean that everyone will be a deep and abiding connection, but it should be one that is of value to both people.  What this requires is that you state why you want to connect with the person.  

I subscribe to the world view that we are put here on earth to help one another with love and grace and that giving is much more fulfilling in the larger picture and long term than receiving.  Naturally, this means that I connect with a good number of people in the hopes that I can be of some assistance.  However, when someone sends me a canned response, hasn’t even looked at my profile, and then wants to connect with me on LinkedIn and I know nothing about them or have no past with them, then I will decline every time.  If you want to connect with me tell me why, how can I help, why is it beneficial that we are connected?  I have an open network with the people I am connected too and will always try to make introductions if I can, but if I know nothing about you or why you want to connect then I can’t do this and it is of no value to me or the people in my network.  I also may choose not to connect with you, which you should never take personally, I am sure you are a great person but if it can’t be a fruitful connection for the both of us then there is no purpose.  So, if you do decide to send me a connection request and you don’t tell me why, don’t be surprised if you just find your connection request going straight to the trash.  Life is short, it is made up of the people we choose to spend time with, interact with, and just because much of this has moved to online does not mean that we forget how to interact on a human level with one another.  Rant complete.