Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Take 45 seconds to get to know the other person (please)


No Tom, just listen. All my people are businessmen; their loyalty is based on that. One thing I learned from my father is to try to think as the people around you think... and on that basis, anything is possible.

- The Godfather, part II


A lot of Linkedin users have been emailing invitations to strangers and asking them to join their network. The typical invitation letter is blatantly generic and shows no evidence that the person took the time (it just takes 45 seconds) to read the other person's Linkedin profile.

This is a big mistake.

As some of these aggressive networkers build up their network (many have thousands of connections), Linkedin meanwhile decided that "size matters not."

So instead of indicating the precise number of connections, they only put "500+" connections.

You can have 10,000 connections or 501, it's basically the same now.

What does all this have to do with the Godfather?

Michael Corleone learned that you can only trust blood. Outside of the family, you have to trust people's business sense.

Yet most Linkedin users don't seem to have business sense. Business sense means you have to know what's in it for the other person.

It's ultimately about trust, and trust can only be built one step at a time. First, you offer something valuable or at least, something that shows you are making a small investment toward building a relationship.

If a person can't even spend 45 seconds to read the other person's Linkedin profile, then the journey toward mutual trust is already aborted.