The phone rang. “Hello, Marc, I understand your teach LinkedIn.” Then the silence. So I politely said, “Who is this?”

This reminds me of receiving connection requests using the default LinkedembarassIn language (no reference, no context, no idea why they want to connect).

The rest of the conversation went downhill from there.

While he spoke, I looked up his name on LinkedIn (it’s always open behind my email screen), found him and opened his profile.

To ease the perceived anxiety, I asked him how he knew any of the 7 people we were connected to in common. He didn’t recall any of them. More anxiety.

I wasn’t trying to make him feel badly, truly. He was doing a good enough job of it on his own!

Morals of the story?

1) Give context and reference in a LinkedIn connection request just like most mature business people do in a “cold” call

  • this is my name
  • this is how we know a person in common/have a mutual interest, etc.
  • then proceed to cover the topic I am contacting you about.

2) Research the person you are calling to know who you both know in common. LinkedIn is ideal for this, to break the ice. Recognize that the person you call is likely looking at your LinkedIn profile within seconds of your mentioning your name. And does your LinkedIn profile make you look good at a glance?

3) Be prepared, please.

I can’t make this stuff up, folks!