How I got a marvelous recommendation from a LinkedIn Superstar
Keep things simple, professional and convenient for the contact
On Thursday, a colleague came to me and grinned at me. „Do you pay people now to praise you on LinkedIn?“
I was confused because I couldn’t place his question. He saw the look on his face and showed me his phone. Then I saw a comment from a new LinkedIn contact about a photo he had taken with me just a few days before:
„Started the trip with a chance meeting with the exceptional Dennis Hillemann: Public defence lawyer, KMPG leader, podcast host and Blockchain privacy expert. An unexpected new friend and ally, and master of time management ⏰“
This explained why I suddenly had so many contact requests, at least from five people who were very interesting for my business. LinkedIn magic.
Surely the person who had written the comment was not only amiable and therefore very accessible. We also had a great conversation of about one hour, relaxed with tea and coffee. But there were also some simple basic rules in the commentary, which I follow when making new contacts (on LinkedIn and other platforms). Here is a short overview:
Contact request: direct, competence, interest
If you don’t know a person yet, but would like to connect to them on LinkedIn, you should definitely write them a request with an individual message. This should answer three questions that a recipient who doesn’t know you yet typically has:
- Who are you?
- Why should I be interested in you?
- Why do you want to connect with me?
In this case, mine was:
Hello, I run the Podcast „The Blockchain Lawyer“ (Apple or Spotify) and speak at various events on blockchain (such as OECD Global Blockchain Policy Forum 2019, Paris). I’d love to connect and follow your posts and ideas on blockchain. Best regards!
The structure of the question is simple but precise. I will introduce myself first, name and position, because LinkedIn is first and foremost a professional network – accordingly, the professional context should always be included, but this should be short and concise. Lengthy explanations are not necessary (and not even possible with the character limit of a message), because the person inquired can view your hopefully meaningful LinkedIn profile.
But then it is essential to build up competence with short, concise sentences that are not meant to be self-explanatory, but to make it clear to the person inquired that I am a professional in an area relevant to him or her. This answers the question of why I am a competent contact for this person. Because why should I connect with a person unknown to me who has no relevance for me?
But the most crucial point is the conclusion: I must make clear why I want to connect with this person. This should be honest and actually be based on that person’s area of expertise, ideally something they have previously posted on LinkedIn or something they write about frequently.
My contact request followed precisely this logic. Not only was it accepted, but it also immediately led to a lively exchange via InMail on LinkedIn. Because that’s what it’s all about – exchange, and whoever writes a contact request with a message opens this communication much faster.
Offer a meeting
Immediately the idea of a meeting came up. And quite honestly – even though my diary was full to the brim, especially at the beginning of the year, I immediately said „yes.“ Because a real connection can only come from personal meetings, from an exchange face-to-face.
Don’t get me wrong: LinkedIn is a fantastic place to meet many people and quickly make new contacts in the respective field. But if I am serious about my request and want to create a real connection, then I also have to take the chance of a meeting. Anything else would be fake and a lie, as if it was just about regaining a contact that I can fully post with my LinkedIn rubbish. But that is not my goal and I don’t want to give that impression.
While colleagues now call me a „social butterfly,“ I used to be shy and introverted. How did I change that? By changing it. That sounds strange, but it is so: Only through courage and experience can such weaknesses be overcome. So now I meet interesting people and exchange ideas with them. And here’s the good news: People want to meet and exchange ideas, and if the contact is made on LinkedIn, they will be positive towards you. They have already decided to invest time and interest in you – so what do you have to lose? My very simple insight: People are happy when others are interested in them and are therefore willing to talk to you. So have the courage to overcome your own shyness.
Perfect arrangement of the meeting
I then organized the meeting because it took place in my hometown Hamburg. When I organize such a meeting, my absolute priority is to make it as easy as possible for the other person. This is a straightforward mindset that anyone can implement immediately. After arranging the time, I decided on a location that was easy for my contact to reach. Then I gave him directions, which enabled him to find the way immediately via Google Maps. I arrived at the location 15 minutes before the meeting started, in case my contact would also arrive too early. And when I came, I wrote my contact where I was sitting so that he didn’t have to search for a long time. Everything was perfectly prepared for him.
Many people do not take this last step in my experience. They don’t send good descriptions of the place, when they want to meet and get to know me, arrive after me so that I only then stand searching in the restaurant or cafe – and the situation is already unpleasant and disturbing for me. Therefore, always put yourself in the role of the other person – and make it as easy as possible for them to meet you.
Then you will also get comments like this, which will bring you further, new contacts.