I get so many different requests on LinkedIn to connect, but often from people that I don’t actually know. It made me think and rethink about the intent of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is about expanding your digital network connections for professional development and opportunities.  

For me, my connections are valuable relationships. If they see that I know someone, I am able to confidently introduce them to my network because I actually know them.  

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone tries to connect with me and they don’t have a picture on LinkedIn. Who are you? A ghost? Or someone trying to sell me something.  I’d like to get to know you before doing any business with you. However, rule of thumb. Provide value first before asking for something. Check out the 10 Biggest Networking Mistakes.

It’s not about collecting contacts. It’s about expanding my network to add to my existing valuable network. LinkedIn has actually answered this question of The similarities and differences between following and connecting. 

I thought that I’d share some tips about when I decide to connect or follow someone. I follow someone when: 

  1. I enjoy their content and want to see more of their content in my feeds
  2. I’m interested in a particular individual and looking for an opportunity to communicate in order to start to build rapport

Once we’ve established rapport and see how we can provide value to each other, then I send a connection invite. I always enjoy connecting with other thought leaders. However, I do recognize that building relationships is more valuable to build with thought leaders. Before I connect, I provide value. Then in turn, once we are connected, they will also see my content and may share some insights and possible even share with their audiences. 

Networking is about mutually beneficial relationships. I wrote a book about this based on global best practices. Connect the Dots, How to Turn Strangers into Meaningful Network Relationships.

Would love to hear your thoughts when do you connect and when do you decide to follow someone?

P.S. If you liked this blog, then you might like this one about Am I Networking or Dating?  

P.P.S – Have you checked out 10 Biggest Networking Mistakes 

P.P.P.S Have you registered for the #FutureProof course? Let me help you stay ahead of the curve 

About the Author:

Sapna Malhotra has over two decades of international management consulting experience in the technology industry. Her career started at Accenture and includes leading the global business change and optimization consulting practice at Amdocs Consulting for over 350 consultants worldwide. Her consulting experience has taken her all over the globe helping clients increase their top line or bottom line. She is also a globally recognized and Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). She is also currently teaching part-time at George Brown College, teaching Introduction to Management Consulting. Her book – Connect the Dots, How to Turn Strangers into Meaningful Network Relationships has become an Amazon Best Seller! She truly believes that education and awareness is instrumental in overcoming any obstacles and perception challenges both globally and locally.

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