Connecting With Someone On LinkedIn Is A Waypoint, Not The Endpoint

a-signLinkedIn – perhaps unwittingly – has led many of it’s users astray.  Over and over we hear, “Only connect with people you know well, and who know you.”  

But networking is about the cultivation of people who can help you professionally and who you can help professionally. To me that sounds like finding new people and developing relationships, not just feeding existing ones.

The way LinkedIn phrases it, the connection is kind of a culmination in your professional relationship with someone. And too many LinkedIn users treat their  connections that way. They never really interact with their connections. Oddly, the act of connecting becomes the last real networking they do with each other.

A connection is not a goal or an end, it is a way stop. Regardless of your goals in using LinkedIn, it is what you do before, and especially after, you make a connection that matters. You don’t connect with a pile of people and wait for something to happen. You make something happen. You interact, you add value, you ask questions, you comment and share, and you trade ideas; whether it is in LinkedIn groups, status updates, longform publishing, or best of all in one to one conversations with other LinkedIn users.

Your professional relationship with another LinkedIn member doesn’t end when you connect, it has just begun.