3 Mistakes to avoid when connecting professionally

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Are you trying hard on various social media platforms to connect with someone professionally?

Does your introduction emails, your calls, connection requests go unanswered?

Do you get blocked often in various social media platforms when you send a connection request to prospects?

If your answer is YES, then this article is for you. I have been noticing off late, people use social media a lot to connect with interesting people, prospects, and people from similar experiences or space. It’s endearing to see such attempts, at the same time it gets annoying when people become one-track mind and only concentrate on getting something out of this connection. Generally, people make these three biggest mistakes while trying to connect with someone online.

  1. No context setting: People do not set the context as to why they want to connect with someone. Let’s be honest, any random and unknown connection requests without a context will go to the ‘archive’ or even worse, for repeat offenders it would go to ‘spam’ folder. Connection requests without context-setting are like blindly firing the arrows. It will hardly ever hit the target.
  2. Irrelevant information overload: This happens most of the time. While sending the connection requests people send unnecessary information about them, and their business. Thereby annoying the receiver. This too will get ignored at best. I have personally started ignoring such attempts. And I see other professionals doing it as well.
  3. Offering help without understanding the problem: This is my favourite category. I find it super amusing when people offer a solution without even knowing what the problem is. Classic ‘I and my company will solve it all for you’ folks. These make it up at the max for a few seconds of smile and amusement.

So what is the best way to approach people? What should you do to improve your connection prowess? Follow these steps if you truly want to build a life-long professional connection and gain from it in the long term.

  1. Change your approach from ‘TAKE’ to ‘GIVE’. Majority of people trying to connect to others are so focused on gaining something from it, that they forget the best connections work when you give more than you receive. The moment you change your approach your success rate will shoot up for sure change.
  2. Ask the permission of the person to connect. I see people sending connection requests randomly and without seeking permission to connect. As if it’s their right to be connected to the person they want to. Whereas, actually it is not. It’s essential to seek permission to connect to them politely. You come across as a balanced and sane human being.
  3. Set the context properly. Sending connection requests without context setting is a BIG NO. Make sure you send an appropriate note to the person along with your connection request. The note needs to have what is the reason behind you sending them a connection request. Be honest and open about your reason, without being salesy, pushy and preachy.
  4. Understand their world and work. It is important you understand and respect their world and work. What it means is that, you must find out from people what time suits them for having a conversation, which medium are they comfortable on, what their work demands are etc. Once you understand these better it will be super easy for you to connect with them.
  5. Understand their challenges before helping. Most often I see people reaching out to others with the help they can offer, without even asking if they are looking for help. It’s futile to help people when they do not need help in that particular area. Therefore understanding their challenges enables you to think from their perspective and provide that valuable help which they are looking for.
  6. Offer help instead of business. Most people send a boring and standard business email while connecting with new people. These emails are loaded with so many offers, products, services that the person receiving it doesn’t understand or can’t fit it into their scope of things. Therefore, it is important to offer genuine help instead of business. The business will eventually follow when they have built trust in you.

In today’s age of overflow of information, people’s attention span and patience levels both have dropped drastically. Plus the fraudulent connection requests don’t help the genuine folks either. Therefore, it is important to stand out in the crowded commercialism. On the other hand, people are looking to connect, but ONLY with genuine people, and not some sales folks desperate to achieve their targets. If you are a salesperson trying to connect with someone, please DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT offer your services to them in your intro email. It puts people off!

Be genuine, be humble, be a giving and friendly person, you will see your attempts working way better than before. Do you agree?

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Author | Professional Speaker