I hate spam passionately. There are few things that piss me off more than being bombarded via email or social media about products for which I don’t give two damns. These days, with the proliferation of bots and malware, spam can also represent a security issue. I suspect it’s probably already happened to me, but I really don’t want anything to do with these things that track my every move.
On a related note, I often get requests to connect, over LinkedIn and Facebook, from people (or is it “people”?) whom I have no idea who they are. Once in a while, I’ll get a connect request from a familiar name or a long lost friend, and even then, I check to make sure I’m not already connected with them, lest it’s someone whose account has been hacked or spoofed. Nevertheless, if I get a connect request from someone I know, I’ll gladly connect with them, with or without a note. However, this is the exception.
That said, whenever I give one of my presentations at a conference, I include an introduction slide, along with some of my contact info, mainly my blog and my LinkedIn profile. I regularly tell people that I am happy to connect with them via LinkedIn, so long as they include a note telling me who they are and how we’re connected.
This is not the first time I’ve written an article about my frustrations with connect requests. Here is a sampling of some of my other articles (and I’m sure there are several others that I haven’t listed below).
- How to (and how NOT to) connect on #LinkedIn
- Ranting my frustration about connect requests
- A tale of two LinkedIn requests
- Putting the “professional” in professional networking
- No cold calls!!!
So once again, I am writing an article about networking online. And once again, I am outlining my ground rules.
- Send me a note with your request! If I have no idea who you are, I will NOT connect with you! Send me a note telling me how we’re connected! If you send me a connect request with no note, and I don’t know who you are, your request WILL be deleted!!!
- Don’t make me work to figure out who you are! Don’t just assume that just because we have something in common (alma mater, fraternity, hometown, friends in common, etc.) that I will know who you are!!! See my bullet point above about including a note and tell me who you are! If I have to work to figure out who you are, chances are that I will delete your request.
- Don’t try to sell me something or suck up to me!!! I am constantly bombarded with connect requests that tell me “I can help promote your business.” If I’m looking to buy a service or product, I’ll ask. And another type of email that infuriates me is one that says “I think you’re a wonderful person. I hope you will connect with me!” Suck-ups piss me off to no end. These types of requests get deleted just as fast — maybe even faster — as requests with no note.
- Connections — and networking — are about relationships! Again, I’ve written about this before. In order for me to connect with you, we need to establish some kind of relationship, even if all it is is that you came to one of my presentations. If you want to connect with me because you want to discuss something that isn’t soliciting, preaching, spam, or sucking up to me, then I will be happy to connect with you to continue the conversation. But again — not to sound like a broken record — please put that in a note!
Speaking of relationships…
- Networking — and communication — is a two-way street! I’ve alluded to this before (I thought I’d written something about this, but I couldn’t find the article). A relationship is about give and take. It doesn’t have to be anything big; for example, I remember a networking contact once forwarded one of my posts saying that I was in the job market. That’s what networking is. It’s about someone knowing something that you don’t. It’s about passing information along. It’s about working together as a team. If you’re just trying to push something on me without doing anything in return, that is solicitation, not networking.
So, I just felt a need to get this out of my system. I get too many unsolicited “cold call” connect requests, and they’re frustrating. If you really want to connect with me, include a note telling me who you are and how we’re connected. If you don’t, then don’t expect to hear back from me.