Just 72 hours ago I had over 1400 LinkedIn connections – now I’m down to just 700. That’s right, I deleted half of all my connections and am not done yet. I think I can delete another 200 connections in the coming days.
Are you thinking: Why would you do that?
Well, let me explain what happened and why I did what I did.
I thought a bigger network is a better network. I was wrong.
In the past, I would accept just about anybody’s connection request – even if I didn’t actually know that person. My thought was that a bigger network is a better network. But I was wrong. As it turns out, a smaller, deeper network is a better network.
I took a critical look at my 1400 connections and realized that I didn’t know most of these people, never talked or emailed with them and had no reason to be connected to them. And having all these ‘junk’ connections in my network made it really hard to see the true connections I had (the people I actually know).
So in a matter of a few hours I deleted 700 connections whose name did not ring a bell. Additionally, I flagged another 200 connections for potential deletion where I’m not 100% sure if we really do know each other.
And then something amazing happened. I suddenly re-discovered how many great quality contacts I had! People that are really important to me but I had forgotten about or hadn’t spoken with in a long time. I immediately asked my assistant to set up calls with these connections to get re-acquainted with each other.
So after shedding this dead weight I told myself that going forward, I will use LinkedIn as the true networking tool it is and have set these rules for myself:
- Smaller & Deeper
My goal is to have a small network of a few hundred people that I personally know and can build deeper relationships with. I will continue to accept and respond to InMails as I have always done but I will not connect with someone unless I’ve had at least a conversation with that person.
- Mutual Benefit
In order for me to connect with someone there has to be a mutual benefit to the relationship. I want to be able to help my connections with their goals, endorse them for their skills and introduce them to people that might be helpful to them – and I expect the same in return.
- Net & Work
I will put the ‘work’ back into networking. Building and maintaining relationships takes consistent work. I will check-in with my connections from time to time and offer my expertise and skill set without a personal agenda.
Your turn now.
What else can I do to elevate the quality of my connections?
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Thomas Michael is the CEO of the Michael Management Corporation, the company that killed Death-by-PowerPoint training and put the fun back into online SAP training. Tom is looking forward to getting to know his connections better, spending this summer in Germany and he enjoys talking about building better businesses.