To me there are only two reasons to remove a connection from my network:
Beyond that every connection is valuable. Why?
Think of it this way: You wouldn't throw out a painting from Rembrandt or Michelangelo because it is "old" - or would you? I wouldn't. With age comes value. How does that relate to LinkedIn?
1.) Except for those who completely abandon a profile, most LinkedIn users add connections every year. Therefore each connection can - in turn - be a link to someone new you may want to meet. You could think of it like interest or like a fine wine. Each connection becomes more valuable with age.
2.) LinkedIn serves a variety of functions including that of a "search engine for people". There is a caveat though: Unless you have a paid account, you can only see people up to three degrees away from you. I'm sure you have heard of the "6 degrees of separation". That means that you are missing out on a lot of potential people who might be able to find you or whose profiles you may want to see, if you reduce your number of connections. Instead of getting rid of connections, I would recommend adding connections. The more connections you have, the more people can find your profile. This could be potential customers, vendors or even potential team members.
3.) Another thing to remember is that you are not the only one to change careers, cities, etc. Others do as well. Therefore the person who may not have been a "good" connection in terms of industry or location last week just so might be in a few months.
4.) On average most people know 250 people - and I do mean "know" personally from work or their daily lives (family, friends, neighbors, favorite barista,...) as opposed to just being a connection on a social media network. These people may not even be on LinkedIn. Is "cleaning up" your list of connections worth giving up 250 potential customers per connection you drop? I don't think so. After all, that would mean giving up 2000 2nd degree potential connections just by cutting out 8 connections! Think about those numbers and what they may represent in terms of business.
5.) Though LinkedIn keeps its algorithms a secret, there are several factors that impact where your profile shows up in search results. Are you at the top of page 1 when someone is looking for your name or a key word on your profile - or are you at the bottom of page 9? Two of the factors that may partially influence your standing are:
A) How many connections you have. After all, if it weren't important, LinkedIn wouldn't show a number or the mysterious "500+".
B) How active you are on LinkedIn: Adding connections is an "activity", as is interacting with them.
Therefore my recommendation is to continue adding connections instead of removing them. Use LinkedIn to build business relationships for the long term and grow your network on a regular basis.
What is your view on this topic? Please share it in the comments below.
And one more thing: If we aren't connected yet, how about changing that? Send me an invitation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also: Interested in a complimentary 5- minute live mini-audit of your LinkedIn profile by phone? Send an e-mail request and we'll set it up.
Image courtesy of KDelaneyphoto.com
When I first met Heike I had just started my marketing business, Ruff Draft Solutions. She delivered a wonderful presentation on the value of networking and LinkedIn while guest speaking at Annapolis Rotaract Club in April 2014.
I followed up with her that evening and she shared a number of resources, including SCORE, LinkAnnapolis, The Small Business Administration and Meetup.com.
After meeting with Heike for a free consultation, I knew committing to her business coaching would be an invaluable investment in order to grow my business. Heike helped me prioritize and establish short and long-term goals to keep me focused and motivated each week. When starting a new businesses, you feel as though you need to wear many hats – be the sales and marketing team as well as the secretary, accountant, IT provider and then actually get some work done for your clients. Heike does a great job with establishing how to effectively implement block scheduling to balance all tasks to have productive days. She even provided me tips on how to stay motivated by regularly recording a list of accomplishments to review on the days when nothing seems to be going my way.
Heike provides wonderful advice on how to be more efficient using technology. She suggested that I take advantage of a CRM system to better manage leads and current clients, helped me establish an effective system to organize business cards using Evernote and how to properly send e-mail follow ups after networking events.
I attended Heike’s LinkedIn seminar that provided detailed statistics, tips and tricks, dos and don’ts and how to design your profile to set you apart from the competition. After applying what I learned, Heike spent a coaching session with me reviewing my LinkedIn page in depth, providing individualized suggestions and improvements.
I really appreciate Heike’s ability to be reached and her prompt e-mail responses to the variety of questions I had outside of our coaching sessions.
She helped restore my confidence to approach and land large-scale clientele and corporations, how to handle companies that are not a good fit for me and whether to pursue employment at marketing firms versus freelancing. Heike also provided me many helpful documents to prepare for our sessions, including a vision statement, mission statement and business plan.
With Heike’s passion to see her clients succeed combined with her business expertise, I highly recommend individuals and businesses to pursue her coaching services to reach their full potential.
This blog post was written by Jenna Soneira, Owner of Ruff Draft Solutions.
How You Answer Your Phone Matters!
How you answer a call may be the first - and last - impression you make on a potential customer. There is the dreaded automated phone system that asks a caller to enter anything from an extension to an annoying litany of numbers (account number, zip code, department, etc.). What really irks me about the latter is that, once a live person actually answers the phone, you usually have to repeat part or all of these numbers. How incredibly annoying.
This particular post though is about how you answer your phone when you actually pick up a call. In my opinion it is a business requirement to answer at a minimum with your full name or business name, preferably both. I would suggest answering slowly enough so the caller can actually understand what you are saying. Enunciate! I would also suggest adding a "Good Morning" or "How may I help you?" or some other friendly greeting.
Last but not least, SMILE when you answer the phone. I can't tell you how often I call owners of small businesses or sales people that make we want to hang up immediately because they answer with nothing but "Hello" in a tone of voice that sounds like I just interrupted their Thanksgiving Dinner with a request to take out the trash. Really? Your phone is an essential part of your business. Make a caller feel appreciated.
This applies to sales reps as well. If you share your phone number for business reasons by means of a business card, letterhead, your LinkedIn profile or elsewhere, answering simply with "Hello" is not enough.
Consider how you answer the phone to be an important part of your marketing . It's cheap too! Putting a smile on and answering with complete information will make you stand out from your competition, especially when you compete with other small businesses.
Feel free to share your feelings about this topic or how you answer the phone in the comments section.
The ultimate responsibility of a business coach is to provide a “safe place” to guide and support his or her clients in reaching the clients’ stated objectives. The term “safe place” is critically important to this definition and should be clarified in more detail since the meaning of this term is not necessarily self-evident.
The term “safe place” refers to a positive, supportive environment that is free from judgment or hidden agendas. There are also no self-imposed (or “coach imposed”) limitations on what is possible. In this safe environment, the client is free to speak openly and honestly, knowing that anything discussed will be held in complete confidence. If “providing a safe place” doesn’t seem significant, just think of this:
Business owners (and leaders) are people. They are wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. Many business owners have employees, who also have families. They have vendors. They have clients. They may have shareholders or partners. They have bankers, accountants, and lawyers. And these are the people that business owners usually talk to and get advice from (solicited and unsolicited). The problem is that, due to the nature of those relationships, there are often “hidden agendas” that are represented in the advice from these different constituencies. This is not unfair; it’s just the way it is. Everyone has needs and wants and our opinions or advice may be tainted by having our own ends in mind. To be sure, people don’t do this to be insensitive or manipulative. It’s just human nature.
However, when a person hires a business coach, the coach represents the self-interests of just one person: The client. There are absolutely no hidden agendas – ever.
Another thing our loved ones tend to do is to “protect us”. People don’t want to see their loved ones get hurt and therefore try to protect them from “failure”. They may try to minimize the risk of failing by sharing their own beliefs. This may result in the business owner adopting those beliefs of what can and cannot be done. Imagine how many people lived and died without ever going after their dreams due to a loved one projecting self-limiting beliefs.
The fact is people constantly project their own ideas, opinions, thoughts, agendas, and even fears onto other people. That is normal and precisely why it is so essential to have a place that is “safe” from all that noise. That safe place is with a business coach.
Business coaches help business owners (or business leaders) in business effectiveness and personal effectiveness.
Business coaches work with business owners and business executives in two distinct areas. First, they help business owners who don’t know what to do in a particular area of his or her business. We call this “business effectiveness.” All areas of business effectiveness fall into the broader categories of Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Leadership Development, Human Resources, Systems Implementation, Strategic Planning, Financial Management, and Exit Planning / Succession Planning.
Business coaches work with successful people who are “stuck” in certain areas of their business. These areas can be related to low profits, sluggish sales, cash flow challenges, people problems, or working too many hours, which can result in an unhealthy work-life balance. Other common challenges include service failures, quality issues, lack of leadership depth, a poor company culture and limited company value.
Some of these problems make a business owner feel paralyzed. They are filled with concern, stress, frustration, anger, grief and doubt. These negative emotions compound the challenges business owners face and can create new problems of their own - some at work, others at home.
A professional business coach helps get the client out of the proverbial trees so the owner can work strategically on business development and systematically solve these problems. Over time, this results in better cash flow, higher profits, and a happier workplace, which in turn leads to a healthy, productive, and joyful life.
Be sure to read upcoming posts on Personal Effectiveness, A Safe Place and The Difference Between Coaching and Consulting.
Heike Heemann, LinkedIn and career coach, brings over 20 years of business experience to her blog.