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Showing posts from May, 2015

Dealing with LinkedIn Connection Requests from Strangers

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In my networking workshops and lectures one of the questions that often comes up is "What do I do with random connection requests from strangers?". On the one hand LinkedIn's official policy is that you should only connect with people you know. On the other hand someone you reject could turn out to be a valuable connection.

The nuanced reply is that you should be cautious but not too hasty to reject an unexpected request. 

What would help immensely would be to have a personalized message with each connection request explaining why the person wants to connect, but the in the current version of LinkedIn this is quite difficult (How to Personalize LinkedIn Requests), so we have to learn to live without it.

Just accepting any request has some disadvantages. Some unsolicitated requests might be genuine but others might be spammers, scammers, fakes or people who are just collecting connections as a pointless game. Connecting blindly with these people hurts you in several ways. 

Lo…

Why No Answer is an Ineffective Answer

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One of the questions that sometimes comes up in my workshops about effective email is "Is it ok to not answer an email when the answer is no?". I am tempted to ignore the question and walk away, leaving them to wonder if I heard or if the answer is no.

But I am not certain that this would work and, following my own advice, I give an explicit response. No, not answering is definitely not a good idea because it causes confusion, misunderstandings, frustration and anger. Clearing just the confusion usually takes more time than answering the message would have. Sometimes the consequences of the frustration and anger are never resolved.

Let's suppose that Anne asks Brian if he is available for a meeting on a certain date.The next day there is no response from Brian. What does this mean? Does it mean "no"? Or does it mean that Brian never received the message? Or does it mean that he replied but the message went to the spam folder? Or does it mean that he is not sur…

How the Doorway Effect Makes Business Cards Still Relevant

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You might think that when practically everyone you meet has a smartphone that electronic exchange of contact information would have superseded business cards. But it hasn't.

Primarily this is because there isn't a convenient standard. You could try to connect on social networking sites, but that doesn't always work because maybe you use LinkedIn and the other person uses Viadeo. There have also been many attempts to make business-card-killer apps, like Bump. Back in 2011 Bump was going to make business cards a thing of the past; today it is no longer available. Many others have tried the same thing but it won't replace paper cards until there is a more or less universal standard, like email.

But there are other reasons for continuing to use paper business cards. First of all there is the ritual aspect. Rituals are actually very important for social interactions and the exchange of business cards is a key ritual in business relationships, marking the point where we eff…

Five Mistakes to Avoid in Your Professional Profile Photos

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Scrolling through the People You Might Know section of LinkedIn I can't help noticing that some people have profile pictures that could damage their credibility.

Some are clearly out of focus, underexposed, taken from too far away, badly cropped, squashed out of proportion or with other issues that are easily avoidable today. Back in the day when LinkedIn was first created in 2003 there were no iPhones and not everyone had a digital camera, but today there are not really any excuses. And if someone really doesn't have access to any sort of digital camera they must have a friend or colleague who could take a quick photo and send it to them by email for upload

Your professional profile photo on LinkedIn doesn't need to be perfect or even great, but at least you should avoid the most obvious mistakes starting with these top five problems I see scrolling through the images in People You Might Know:

UNDEREXPOSED PHOTO. How people achieve this in the 2010s I do not know, but a s…