I received so much feedback on my last blog about LinkedIn Etiquette, I decided to write a follow-up. One person asked how to effectively connect one of his friends to another friend’s friend, a 3rd connection.
First, let me say that I have had limited success using LinkedIn’s tools for executing a 3rd connection or even a 2nd connection. The reason is because LinkedIn’s process requires each person in the chain to forward your message along.
Key Point: Unless all links in the chain are strong, getting a positive response is slim.
To increase the chance of success, here’s what I do. First, I call my 1st order connection (Friend); yes, sometimes nothing can substitute for picking up the phone. If I am not comfortable calling my Friend, I don’t bother asking to connect to his/her Friends using LinkedIn. When I call, I mention that I am interested in connecting to one of his/her Friends on LinkedIn and state the purpose. Then I ask if they would be willing to make an email introduction. Why? Because an email is more personal than LinkedIn, which gets weaker the deeper you dig into your network. If my Friend says yes, I contact his Friend via email or phone with the same request and the cycle begins anew (see diagram below). Frequently I get lucky: my Friend knows the person I am trying to reach but isn’t connected to him/her on LinkedIn. Even if I do not get to the 3rd contact, I’ve made new connections, which helps to expand and enrich my network.
What do you do?