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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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