- On December 5, 2020
If you are trying to build your network, you are probably sending out a lot of LinkedIn invites both to people you know well and to people you want to know. What will get your invitation accepted by influential people who don’t even know you?
I love this post by career guru Austin Belcak. He explains the secret is to focus on the other person, not yourself. Most requesters send invites without a note or with an ask (can you get me a job, can you introduce me to X, can I pick your brain, etc.). Both types of invitations are far from compelling. Chances are you wouldn’t accept either yourself. But maybe you would if you thought the person could add value to your life in someway.
How do you make a request that shows you can contribute something to someone you don’t know? First, research that person and learn their interests. What have they posted and where? Watch their videos, listen to their podcasts or MCLEs, and read their articles. Next, follow their advice, add positive comments where they posted so they can see them (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and only then contact them with a note on their impact, e.g., you did what they suggested and XYZ happened. Your odds of getting a response exponentially increase.
Yes, this amount of research and preparation is a lot of work just to ask a favor from folks who might not say yes. But think from the favor grantors’ perspective. Why would they want to help you without evidence you will help them or even follow their advice? Most successful people know others have helped them along the way and are willing to help those who are eager learners and likely to succeed, so make it easy on them. And when it’s your turn, try to help others out too.