Participating on LinkedIn – or any online environment – comes with its own particular set of challenges & concerns. One of those concerns is often “What is the etiquette of using it?”
In response, people have written a whole range of pieces of advice and there are there are massive tomes advising on how to go about it. While they have their place, I honestly feel they vastly over complicate the whole thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand people’s misgivings. However, for LinkedIn, I feel most of us have an inbuilt understanding of how to do things, because it’s exactly what we do naturally face to face or over the phone every day. We meet new people, we introduce ourselves and ask about them … essentially, we talk to them!
However, on LinkedIn, either we disregard all of this accumulated knowledge or we panic, simply because suddenly the context is different – we are online & typing rather than talking to someone. So we forget how to act & react, whereas in fact we are just talking to someone, although at that moment in an online version.
To help achieve the best results on LinkedIn, I recommend applying two basic principles:
1. Use the same approach you would use when networking face to face and try to apply the same principles when it comes to asking about others (and listening to their response), talking about yourself, sharing information or engaging in general;
2. Remember to “do as you would be done by” and treat people with respect. If you do that then people are likely to do the same to you and we can forget all about posturing and selling, and get on with the conversing and getting to understand the people we are talking to.
Essentially, unless you are a hardened “business card giver outer, no time to talk” advocate & not interested in listening or interacting with people, then I’d suggest that is going to be a good and, I hope, familiar starting point, on LinkedIn or beyond!
Takeaway Point: Just be yourself online. Apply the same rules of courtesy & engagement you would do with people face to face and you won’t go far wrong.