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5 Effective Ways To Connect Successfully With Strangers on LinkedIn

5 Effective Ways To Connect Successfully With Strangers on LinkedIn

There is an old saying, “If you want to catch fish, fish where the fish are.”

In the world of professional networking, the “fishes” could be found on LinkedIn.

According to Statista, LinkedIn has 396 million users as of Q3 of 2015.

Now THAT is a huge fishing pond.

But also because of that, LinkedIn is becoming saturated with template InMails and Nigerian scams.

I lost count of the number of times I was told to inherit a billion dollar from some government officials in a third world country– and not forgetting the messages from connections, notifications from groups and random invitations from strangers.

Getting their attention to you

Despite all that, LinkedIn remains a powerful source of people you could benefit from. You might be looking for mentors, business leads or simply to conduct a reference check – it is the place to go to.

The key is to stand out from all the noise that is buzzing in the background and be the musical melody that draws their attention.

Here’s how:

1.Sending invites to their corporate email

I used to send out hundreds of invites per day because I realized many wouldn’t reply and accept my invitation. Needless to say, I was just spraying and praying.

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So if my target is to add 10 connections per day, I would send out at least 100 invitations because the acceptance rate borders around 10%.

It was a stupid approach. Even though you could get that 10%, you are annoying 90% of the people you are contacting and some of them have no qualms marking you as spam.

I had my LinkedIn account suspended 3 times because of that. I don’t think they will let me off so easily if I were to do it again.

So I looked at the whole process flow and realized why the acceptance rate is so low.

Most users would register their personal email addresses with LinkedIn. They might put in their corporate email address, but chances are these would be listed as secondary emails.

Which mean they won’t receive alerts via those inbox.

Instead, they would get them in their Gmail.

How many of us actually check our Gmail on a regular basis?

I have a friend who has about 20,000 unread emails in his. If you were to send him an invitation, he should get back to you by the year 2020.

A better way to reach out to your target is via their corporate email address instead. And this is where Email Hunter will come in useful.

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Email Hunter gives you direct access to all the web’s email addresses. With their Chrome extension installed, you could see a new Email Hunter button at every profile page.

A click on that shows you the potential corporate email address of the profile.

With that information, you would send a connection invite as you normally would. But instead, select the Others option. That allow you to key in an email address.

Put in the corporate email address you found and your invite would go straight to your target corporate inbox which I believe they would be checking every other minute.

2. Sending direct messages via Groups

Another way of connecting with your target is simply to bypass the connection process altogether.

You could do so by monitoring closely the groups that your target is in.

Get into those groups as a member.

Once you are approved, you would have access to the entire members directory.

Find your target within the director and you would see a Send Message option made available.

This would allow you to send a direct message to your target without waiting for them to accept your connection invite.

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3. Ego-bait InMail

Despite all that you have done, your target might be inundated with similar invitations and messages.

Your message has to stand out from the rest and the best way to do so is via an ego-bait.

An ego-bait InMail would carry a significant amount of praise and awe of your target, with strong reference to their current success that you identified on LinkedIn.

A typical message would look like:

Hi Peter

I was doing research for CFO on LinkedIN and I stumbled on your profile. I am so amazed by your career trajectory and how you’ve managed to achieve so much over your career!

I am currently working as a Financial Controller and is looking to better equip myself with the skill sets required to prepare myself for CFO opportunities.

I hope I could learn from you a tip or two. Coffee’s on me. :)

4. Using referral system

If all that isn’t working for you, you need a connector to act as your bridge.

You might be targeting someone with major trust issues. These are people who are very cautious about adding new people to their circle, even if the circle is virtual.

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LinkedIn has a referral request function that allow you to send a dedicated message to a profile you are connected with and have them forward your connection request to your target.

Importantly you want to explain why you want your 1st-degree connection to forward your request to their connection.

Make sure you write from the target’s benefit in connecting with you. So instead of telling your 1st-degree connection it is because you wish to “sell the target your product”, you want to phrase it as “the target could solve their procurement bottleneck with your solution.”

End it off with another brief paragraph about your background and how it would be relevant to your target.

5. Creating a group for your target

The final resort is to start your own LinkedIn group.

Assuming you are targeting HR Directors. What you want to do is to start a group catering to HR Directors which allow them to join and share their domain expertise.

Give it a prestigious name like HR Thought Leaders in Singapore.

Now your target won’t find out and gravitate to the group automatically. Your best bet is to hustle at a few influencers in the HR space and convince them to join the group.

They will act as your magnet to draw the rest of the crowd in.

The best part about this strategy is you are the group owner. As the owner, you could send a message to ALL members at the same time instead of individually, as we covered under point 2.

Featured photo credit: Businessmen shaking hands/reynermedia via flic.kr

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Adrian Tan

Ops Director at Ingeus Singapore

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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