Connection Myopia

What exactly is LinkedIN?

LinkedIN is a great tool, and it is an excellent way to make connections with people that you wish to learn more about, add to your professional network, or perhaps reach out to for a job opportunity or to get new projects.

But how does it define itself? What exactly is it?

Here’s what LinkedIn says about itself:

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet. You can use LinkedIn to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career. You can access LinkedIn from a desktop, LinkedIn mobile app, mobile web experience, or the LinkedIn Lite Android mobile app.

Pretty clear. A flexible, robust internet-based network for business professionals.

Generally understood to maximize connections and expand one’s business network.

Sketchy Dark Corners

There are without a doubt some sketchy profiles — recently I had a “Doctor of Pharmacy” from Pfizer reach out, supposedly intrigued by some background I had turning around a pharmaceutical company, and it was clearly not legit — no photo, no corporate address, the things the person was following didn’t make sense for a senior executive in a pharma company.

Then recently the string of people who seem to all share the same title with Estee Lauder Company but the profile specifics don’t match and the email address is literally a different person’s name.

The Japanese conglomerate that needs me right away to help them fix their company.

The company in India that thinks we are an IT firm, trying to sell us IT services.

Lead generation experts. Lately, I get 10 lead generation experts a day — people selling the absolute best lead generation methodology (meanwhile their outbound lead generator to me has typos, misunderstood what industry I’m in and spelled my name wrong).

Coaching and mindset gurus. Someone with a high school degree who worked in a nail salon that’s going to provide me executive coaching services to scale my business 10X. Or, a mindset master that needs $50,000 to unblock my third eye chakra.

Aside of the lowbrow kind of stuff that happens on all social media, there are legitimate business professionals who wish to make connections, and I accept most of them. Because as they saying goes, you never know where a business lead can come from.

The Elitist Wallflower

LinkedIn also suggests connections, usually people that have mutual connections with you. If it looks like a solid professional I’ll reach out. Nine out of ten times people will connect, but there’s always one elitist that feels compelled to spend 15 minutes of their time writing interview questions. People that think you’re asking them for tax returns or to come to their house for holiday dinner. They are professionals that are in, or on the fringe of, the industry you’re in, and you send them an invite to be added to your network.

You’re met with responses like:

  • How can I help you? Do you really know our mutual connection Bob or are you just connected with him? How closely have you worked with Bob. Have you worked with Bob in the last 3 months?
  • Why did you look at my profile? Do you have a paying project needing my expertise?
  • I’m sorry I don’t connect with people that I haven’t met yet. (Really??)
  • Can I help you? What made you decide to send me a LinkedIN connection? I realize we are both members of the (name of professional networking organization) so is that why you reached out? (well, duh)
  • I’m sorry I’m just not adding to my network at this time.
  • I usually don’t connect with people who went to a rival school (what?)
  • Please tell me more about what your organization does, who your clients are, your background, why you reached out, and submit a 15 page paper double spaced by Friday at noon.

Fine, no problemo.

Sometimes the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

Connect or don’t connect, but understand the point of it is to connect.

Some people are just LinkedOut.

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Paul Fioravanti, MBA, MPA, CTP

Paul Fioravanti, MBA, MPA, CTP

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Business Growth/Startup/Transformation | CEO | Grow it, Fix it, Exit | Executive/Advisor/Director/Connector | www.qorval.com |