We are not connecting… and it’s staying that way!



This post is about how not to commence engagement on LinkedIn, an example of someone making connecting difficult, and how not to turn an online conversation into a real one.

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Engagement Commenced

I was recently engaged on LinkedIn by a gentleman I’d never heard of.  He wanted to speak to me, because he felt he had something of interest, that I should know about. I assumed he had read my profile, noted my interests and had something he didn’t want me to miss.  I was wondering what it was.

The messages had been sent via LinkedIn so I politely replied and asked what benefit he thought the information would provide me with.  I did this because it’s important to manage time effectively.  Benefits of services that are lower down my priority list than those I’m working on, can wait.

The next message I received was virtually a repeat of the first one, saying that I should be interested and when could I speak. I was already feeling that this may be a waste of time, so I sent a reworded version of my original message, asking what the benefit to me might actually be, or if there was any form of help they were looking for.

When Under Attack – Fall Back

I then received a message stating that my business costs would be reduced and it would be of huge benefit to me and everyone I knew. I replied that my clients who had wanted their costs reduced had already done so, and it was not something I needed to do, at this time, but I politely thanked the gentleman anyway. I then received a rather odd message stating that he could see absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t take his call or give him 10 minutes to help with his marketing – it would have taken longer than that. So I sent a link to an event to help him with his marketing.

He then pointed out that I must have seen him present his service at an event I attended recently, so I probably had dillusions of grandeur for not affording him the time he wanted.  Worse still, ultimately, I was being obtuse by not giving him 10 minutes of my time. Ouch. I have resolved to make minutes count by entering discussions with those who are recommended by my network. These recommendations can be personal, or present on a LinkedIn profile. I know both of these types of recommendation are very, very real, and I value them highly.

One thing the gentleman could have found out before he started the engagement was that I wasn’t present at his seminar, because another seminar that was on at the same time, was the reason that I signed up for the event.

Cease Firing

I could have started a lenghty explanation, yet experience dictates that when under attack you should fall back – when it makes sense for me. So I decided not to reply, because I cannot see a time when we will be able to help each other. If I had replied I think the gentleman would have kept going, hoping to wear me down.

I felt a chat about his marketing was a trojan horse. Either way, hostilities have ended, I have the same number of connections, and this article will now help others who are thinking about how to start engaging with people online.

Wrap Up: Its hard to say who insulted who first. We are not connected, and it is staying that way. We don’t have to connect to everyone that asks, so make it easy for people to understand why and don’t get hurt if someone politely declines. There really are more fish in the LinkedIn sea.

Top Tip: Take a quick peek at the blog we shared in our last newsletter. It highlights how people can get upset or threatened, leading to feelings of harassment or bullying.

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Online jokers miss opportunities



Having a sense of humour can land you in hot water, sometimes without even realising it. We think “That’s just not funny mate!” more often than we declare it to a would be comedy star. It’s a real boost when we find something funny and this post encourages it. This post explains that a decent percentage of people are offended by misplaced humour, it can damage a reputation and why it is so counter productive.

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What’s wrong with having a sense of humour?

Nothing. Just remember that it’s like an opinion. It’s yours and has developed because you are the only person to have your life experiences. You may have a thick skin. Others may not.

If you don’t want to offend people, then don’t try to be funny. Especially if you’re using social media to engage people. If there is a subject matter in the joke, then you are likely to offend someone. Don’t risk it. Stick to humour that doesn’t reference others – no matter how topical the reference may be.

This survey showed how 31% of people felt harassed by other people’s attempts at humour. Would you tell a joke to a group of clients if you’re at tisk of offending a good deal of them? No! So don’t offend your future clients and introducers who are keeping up to date with you online.

Why do people get it so wrong?

The main reason humour goes awry is down to a stunning lack of empathy. Another is that they sometimes don’t realise that they have an audience, and that people are reading stuff online and not commenting. For example, plenty people shout at their TV. Very few write to Points of View.

We all make mistakes, yet some are easier to forgive than others. Social Media is great, in that it enables you to engage directly with any negative feedback or complainants. They say that having a presence on the internet enables you to drown out negative vibes. While this may be true in most cases, it’s hardly an effective use of social media if you created the vibes yourself.

Why does it matter?

People spend a lot of time building their reputation online (I say “spend” because time wasted is an opportunity cost). So it makes no sense to alienate people that may be offended by something that they  do not consider to be exceptionally witty, but ultimately harmless. Not everyone will share an appreciation for the same humourous insights.

It’s difficult to recommend people who make massive errors of judgement online. There isn’t enough room here to list them all the reasons why. Suffice to say there are loads of “safer” people who you can introduce without any risk to your own reputation.

Wrap up: I’ve seen people spend years building an online reputation and then make one single comment which makes them very difficult to introduce. Those that see a misplaced joke online might not be around to see the apology.

Top tip: People like to be amused. We all have a sense of humour and having a barometer of taste before you publish would be ideal. Failing that, buy a joke book.

Who to share this with: People you want to engage with. Especially if they used to introduce you.

Further Reading: Attend our Partners Briefing or Directors Briefing.

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When contacts network on your behalf…



There’s a lot of white noise in marketing, and engagement can be summed up as keeping in touch – with permission.

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How do you keep in touch?

I have a newsletter and I find it’s an invaluable and consistent way to keep the stakeholders in my network informed. I’m not saying it’s perfect, yet it is helping us stay relevant, and serves as a means of regularly getting content out there.

During our recent Q&A at Social Media Week, the best phrase amongst the noise in the perennially non-conforming week was retweeted by my invaluable assistant. It was about “curating content”. I think having a regular newsletter helps me do that.

Why do it that way?

I receive a lot if great information, yet I still unsubscribe to one email per day. Usually its the new “soupon”. It keeps me sane. Reducing the volume of emails into my inbox gives me a little extra time, and helps me focus on the most relevant incoming content.

I look at the information I want to share in my newsfeeds. The items I like most I share with some selected contacts. I then review the reaction monthly. This gives me a bigger picture before I curate the content for news I share.

How do you know it’s working?

There are two main ways to establish if your methods are working. I often receive emails mentioning something I had commented on. The emails are accompanied by the details of their friend who needs help with “something similar”.

The best way of figuring out if your strategy is working tends to happen in social networking events. Recently a contact of mine, Dave, caught up with me the day after  he was at an event. “I tried really hard to connect you to a friend last night but he wouldn’t hear of it”, he told me.

I asked the question that parents 0f toddlers dread. “Why?”

“He already knew the absolute expert in this niche. It turned out it was you.”

Wrap up: It turns out that both Dave, and his friend, receive my newsletter. It makes my world a little bigger.

Top tip: Curate some of your favourite stories and share them monthly.

Who to share this with: People you want to engage with. Especially if they used to introduce you.

Links: Check out our Partners Briefing and Directors Briefing.

Get your 60 day free newsletter trial with our partners, Constant Contact.

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LinkedIn member seeks personal connection



Being nice when networking is not enough. However, being engaging often is. I recently read this article in the Huffington Post and it reminded me about the invitations I receive to “connect” on LinkedIn. When do you say “No Thanks.”

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Meaningful Connections

It makes sense to connect with the right people. And it makes even more sense now that LinkedIn are changing the way “recommendations” are viewed. Perhaps they found the facility was been abused. I’m not saying I saw it coming, but I did blog about the dangers of “trading” recommendations some time ago. Click here for blog on LI recommendations.

Will LinkedIn adverts lead to new trends?

Love HeartSo I receive a message out of the blue, inviting me to connect. I enquire why this LinkedIn user wants to connect with me, and the reply I get is, to say the least, unusual. I am greeted with the reply “you look nice”. So this person only bothered looking at my photo. Which, really, is a compliment to my parents, rather than myself. Needless to say, I’m flattered yet I haven’t connected with them. Perhaps this personal trend has emerged because of the advertisements that now appear on LinkedIn? I’ll keep you updated.

Nice guys finish first

It is always nice to be nice – as my old Mum says. It’s compelling to start an engagement with something of substance and continue to engage. Do I want to be known as nice or something with more punch? My favourite similar comment came from someone I’ve known for the 25 years I’ve been in business. It was about being a gentleman, which is more about individual conduct and means a lot more than being just nice.

Wrap up: It’s great to receive recommendations and compliments but if they are your windows to the wider world you want them to have some context in order to a compelling.

Top tip: If you’re worried about where you should store your favourite recommendations take a look at our alternatives.

Who to share this with: Online Groups where people are expressing concern at the personalised ads appearing on profiles. Just say No Thanks!

Links: Check out our Partners Briefing and Directors Briefing Read an earlier blog of ours – What are you doing to your brand on LinkedIn.

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Networking Critics Miss the Point



Networking has been getting a lot of bad press recently, with plenty of people slagging it off. Perhaps this is due to desperation, as there are many businesses out there who think that they’re after the same pounds and pennies as networking groups. Read on to find out why they say networking doesn’t work, why it’s important to maintain existing relationships AND grow new ones.

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Have you heard the latest – networking doesn’t work!

Networking critics miss the pointNetworking critics said networkers were “hanging ’round with the wrong people”. The critics should be concentrating on what they have to offer – as long as it tells us what we’ll get that is actually of benefit. They are partially right. Spending time and energy with the wrong people will get you the wrong results. Yet how are you supposed to meet the right people if you don’t network?

Networking is about motivating people to help you, because they want to. That’s not going to happen if you get involved in a group made up of people you don’t get on with, because someone else selected all the members according to their own criteria.

Meeting the right people

It’s also true that some people have no idea how to organise their network. However, well organised networking no doubt leads to measurable results. The critics think that the only way to be successful is the way they got successful – so follow them if they provide a similar product or service as you. Others just say networking doesn’t work, simply because they don’t like it. It takes some getting used to at the beginning yet successful people are waiting to meet you.

They want to meet the next LinkedIn founder or receive an excellent product or service. But only if it’s going to help them gain more success.

Be the next big thing

Meeting new people is vital but they have to be the right people. A few weeks ago a lot of people wanted to meet the Facebook founder – they may have they changed their mind? The world is continually changing and those that adapt survive. Yet adapting without measuring what’s already happened is often a waste of time.

People who pick on those that network do so for a variety of reasons, most of the time to tip them over the edge and make them join their merry band. This would be a shame if networkers had spent time meeting people and building relationships they then left fallow. What’s even worse is if networking groups tell networkers that it’s their own fault it didn’t work for them. Rather than telling them how to make it work.

That’s just not on. But it happens. Perhaps that’s what the critics meant?

Wrap up: You probably already have a network and those people are more likely to help you than strangers. Yet it’s not wise to just stop talking to people who take an interest in you, and could potentially help you grow your business. That’s what some “experts” recommend. And they’re always right. Aren’t they, George Osborne?

Top Tip; Click Here (on the left of this page) to complete your networking audit and be instantly signposted to resources to help improve your networking results and take advantage of opportunities.

Who to share this with: Networking critics, anyone who is not getting the results they deserve from their networking efforts.

Links: Check out our “Highly Recommend” Directors Briefing or our Partners Briefing events.

Posted in Business Networking, Business Networking Events, Business Networking Events, Business Networking Groups, Business Networking Groups, Business networking london, Business Networking Results, Business Networking Strategy, Business Networking Tips, Business Networking Tips, Business Networking Training, Business Networking Training, Business Networking Workshops, Ladies network, Ladies networking, Lead Generation for accountants, Lead generation for solicitors, Marketing, Marketing for accountants, Marketing for solicitors, Networking group leaders, Professional Networking, Uncategorized, Women's networking, Women's networking events |
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