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5 Effective Ways To Connect Successfully With Strangers on LinkedIn

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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.

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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