Monday, 24 October 2016

Is LinkedIn Making Us Lazy?

LinkedIn is a great networking tool and sees more users added by the day.  When it first started, it was much more basic, but as demand and technology have grown and improved, it has added other “bells and whistles”.

We can now (among other things):
  • Ask someone to connect;
  • “Recommend” contacts for skills(this seems to have been withdrawn now);
  • Congratulate contacts on achieving another year in their business;
  • Wish contacts Happy Birthday.

My question: is LinkedIn making it too easy (and making us look unprofessional) as a result?  For example, there’s a standard message to ask people to become a professional contact.  Now if it’s a friend or colleague, that’s one thing, but if it’s a total stranger, we should be introducing ourselves and  explaining why we would like to connect.  We don't just walk up to strangers in the street and ask, “Will you be my friend”  Yet this seems normal on LinkedIn…

What about when we recommend someone for a skill?  How many times have we clicked on a skill of one of our contacts without really asking ourselves “Do they possess this to the degree that I can honestly recommend them?”  Remember, we are endorsing them for a skill, which might make the difference between being put on an interview shortlist or not.  There’s also no idea of to what extent they possess that skill.  I’ve been surprised (and gratified) by some of the recommendations that I’ve received from people I consider don't know me that well.

For the congratulations messages: again nice to receive, but when I get the “boilerplate” text, I wonder how much the other person really cares.  I always try to personalise it (but that’s just me).  Same applies for the birthday greetings.

In short, LinkedIn risks depersonalising relationships and making us look unprofessional if we aren't careful. 

I have spent more than half my life delivering change in different world markets from the most developed to “emerging” economies. With more than 20 years in international financial services around the world  running different operations and lending businesses, I started my own Consultancy to offer solutions for improving performance, productivity and risk management.  I work with individuals, small businesses, charities, quoted companies and academic institutions across the world. An international speaker, trainer, author and fund-raiser, I can be contacted by email . My website provides a full picture of my portfolio of services.  For strategic questions that you should be asking yourself, follow me at @wkm610.

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