I used to think that LinkedIn introductions were redundant and unnecessary. Why bother someone else when you could easily find a way to contact the person directly? Why did I need a middle man? Yesterday I received an introduction request which completely changed that point of view. The intro was so delightfully composed, so well executed, that I wanted to share it with you. I hope you’ll agree that it deserves the description of a “stunningly good” LinkedIn introduction.
Mike’s introduction on Gary’s behalf made me realize what a powerful tool the intro can be. Here’s why:
(1) When you ask someone to introduce you to a contact, it makes the connection more likely because it’s coming in “warm”. Very warm in this case and funny.
(2) 3 people engage in a room, rather than 2 strangers passing each other in the hallway. I hadn’t been in touch with Mike since we connected a year ago. He’s back on my radar now.
(3) The original relationship is strengthened because of the “small gift” represented by the intro. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn talks more about this concept here.
A Lost Art?
How many introductions have you given or received via LinkedIn? I’m guessing single digits and I think that’s a shame. Could this be part of a bigger picture? Human interaction today is facilitated, governed and ultimately shaped by technology and hardware which we all use. The pressing need to get stuff done and the ability to achieve this with a computer or a smartphone, fundamentally changes the way we think and act. We check our mobile devices incessantly and respond in short, sharp bursts. It’s no accident that there’s been an explosion of info-graphics over the last few years; we crave useful/topical information that can be easily consumed and shared, quickly, without effort or much thought. Twitter exists because of those short sharp bursts of communication; you may have thousands of followers but you don’t really know them and interactions are fleeting. LinkedIn has already revamped its mobile app multiple times this year in an effort to improve mobile networking. 43% of LinkedIn’s traffic in Q1 2014 was mobile. They’re understandably very keen to get it right.
Soft Skills Decline
Though we’ve never had access to as many people and conversations on-line than we do today, the quality of real-world interaction is deteriorating. Soft skills erode because the devices we use and rely on daily, force us to think transactionally, isolate us from the outside world and perversely, make us less social. That couple in the restaurant who seem to spend more time checking their iPhones than speaking to each other. The passenger next to you putting his headphones on to signal that he’s not chatting this flight. Kids preferring iPads to playdates. There’s an excellent article by Tim Elmore called “The Inverse Relationship Between Technology and Soft Skills“, which does a great job of examining this phenomenon in relation to Gen iY (Millennials). One paragraph is entitled “As virtual connections climb, emotional intelligence declines”. I’d love your thoughts.
A friendly challenge: make a stunningly good introduction request of one of your 1st Degree Connections today, maybe send them a link to this article prior to the request. Let me know how you get on. Last but not least: my thanks to Mike Kunkle for inspiring this post and for putting me in touch with Gary. He’s done us all a favor.
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By Andy Foote