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What is The Value of a Connection on Linkedin?

I was speaking at a genetics conference a couple of years ago. After the last panel discussion broke for the day, I stood chatting with a few people about our agency’s marketing history within the genetics space. I politely shared a few generic details, not wanting to dominate the conversation. Still, I noticed that one person, in particular, asked specific and well-informed questions about our agency’s history.

After the mingled group began to drift away, I asked which company he worked for. After staring at me with a sideways glance for an awkward second or two, he said, “I work for X company. We’ve been a client of yours for you for the past three years.” It turns out he was one of their product managers – whom I’d never met and hadn’t recognized from his ritz cracker-sized conference badge.

For a moment, we chuckled about my perceived ignorance, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of being a moron for not recognizing him. Clearly, it is challenging to stay connected and attached to everyone in your professional orbit. It is one of the glaring downsides of working at a company with clients all over the country.

The story popped into my mind recently while I was working on a better way to accept connections on Linkedin. I don’t have a current formula, so I accept everyone in the five healthcare verticals in which our agency specializes. This, unfortunately, also means my LinkedIn network is way too extensive and filled with people I really don’t know.

Looking for a better methodology, I shared my problem with one of our social media managers. She commented that she only accepts connections with those she’s physically shaken hands with.

If I tried to adhere to her guidelines in today’s environment of distributed workforces, I wouldn’t be able to connect with hardly anyone because we never shook hands, even if we’ve chatted, zoomed, and emailed for months. That rule obviously isn’t compatible with how quickly the business landscape and technology are changing relationships.

Change forces us to re-evaluate the antiquated rules that may once have served us but clearly no longer do. Of course, having said that… I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

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